World first in cardiology


A heart valve replacement by catheterisation has been performed at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc for the first time. This exceptional procedure represents great hope for patients who are too frail to consider major surgery or do not respond to conventional drug treatments.

In the heart, dysfunction of the tricuspid valve separating the right atrium and ventricle can lead to heart failure. Unfortunately, medication does not always work, and a major operation must then be performed to open up the chest.

However, a new and much gentler approach is now possible, as a multidisciplinary team from Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc has just demonstrated on an 84-year-old patient. His tricuspid valve was able to be replaced by catheterisation.

Professors Joëlle Kefer and Christophe Beauloye performed this procedure percutaneously using the ultrasound guidance of their colleagues. A probe was inserted through the groin and then "navigated" through the veins of the body to the heart, where the new valve was placed.

This world first was a success, as the patient is now recovering at home after less than a week of hospitalisation. It also means that other patients who are too frail will most likely be able to consider this kind of less intrusive procedure in the future.

We can only welcome this Belgian cardiovascular expertise, which is already being widely recognised throughout the world.