Northwestern surgeon performs first procedure in Illinois implanting newly-developed heart valve

Yvonne Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s chief of cardiac surgery led the first successful procedure to implant a sutureless aortic valve in Illinois.

Feinberg Prof. Patrick McCarthy, the executive director of Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute — the highest-ranked cardiology and heart surgery program in the state — led the Feinberg School of Medicine’s clinical trials for the new valve earlier this year, according to a news release.

The valve system, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was implanted in 74-year-old Illinois resident Robert Kurinsky.

The procedure is a less-invasive approach than open heart surgery. Kurinsky was the second patient in the country to receive that type of valve.

“Using this newly approved valve system helped replace Mr. Kurinsky’s valve in only 12 minutes, which means less trauma to the body and a quicker recovery time,” McCarthy said in the news release. “We are always looking to find the safest and most effective means of treating our patients, and I was pleased we could offer this option to Mr. Kurinsky days after the FDA approved it.”

Kurinsky had been treating his deteriorating heart valve with medication for years before the surgery. He returned home less than a week after the procedure.

“I’m coming to the end of life to a great extent, but younger people that can benefit from this – that to me is just wonderful,” Kurinsky said in a news release.

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