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News Release

Mercy and Iowa Heart Center lead exploration of new, non-surgical alternative to open-heart surgery

April 4, 2011

Iowa Heart Center, a member of Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines and the largest provider of cardiovascular care in Iowa,  today announced its participation in the Medtronic CoreValve U.S. Clinical Trial, which will evaluate a new, non-surgical alternative to open-heart surgery for patients with severe aortic stenosis. Mercy is the only site in Iowa and among a select number of hospitals across the U.S. to participate in this trial.

Approximately 100,000 people in the U.S. suffer from severe aortic stenosis, which occurs when the heart’s aortic valve is narrowed, restricting blood flow from the heart to the body. The condition primarily affects older people and typically develops in individuals between the ages of 50 and 70.

“We’re excited to partner with other leading cardiac specialists in the U.S. to study this revolutionary technology,” said Atul Chawla, M.D., interventional cardiologist and primary investigator.  “The boundaries of medical treatment are constantly being expanded, and Iowa Heart Center is proud to stand with our patients on that frontier.”

The CoreValve System is designed to provide a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment option for patients with symptomatic, severe aortic stenosis who are at high risk, or are ineligible, for open-heart surgery. Worldwide, approximately 300,000 people have been diagnosed with this condition and approximately one-third of these patients are deemed at too high a risk for open-heart surgery, the only therapy with significant clinical effect that is currently available in the United States.

The new valve replacement procedure channels a catheter (thin tube) with a prosthetic valve through the femoral artery to reach the heart. The CoreValve System is designed with self-expandable technology, deploying the new valve inside the diseased aortic valve without open-heart surgery or surgical removal of the native valve.

The Medtronic CoreValve U.S. Clinical Trial will enroll a total of more than 1,200 patients at 40 U.S. clinical sites, including Iowa Heart Center at Mercy. Outside the U.S., CoreValve received CE (Conformité Européenne) Mark in Europe in 2007. For more information about the Medtronic CoreValve U.S. Clinical Trial, see www.aorticstenosistrial.com.

Iowa Heart Center is currently enrolling patients in the trial. For more information about participating in this clinical trial, contact the IHC Research Department at (515) 633-3842.

About Iowa Heart Center

Iowa Heart Center, one of the nation’s premier cardiovascular medicine practices, is an integrated service of Mercy Medical Center—Des Moines. For more than 40 years, Iowa Heart Center physicians and staff have provided world-class heart care and disease prevention services to Iowans and their families. Iowa Heart is also involved in clinical research at the national and international level of emerging medical technologies.

Mercy Medical Center—Des Moines is an 802 bed Iowa acute care facility and part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Denver, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health services organizations; and home health agencies.

Contact Gregg Lagan
Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines

515-247-3050
cell 515-490-6636


1111 6th Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50314 (515) 247-3121
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