CNET News Video
New heart valve saves lives without surgeryIn early November, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new type of heart valve that cardiologists say will revolutionize their profession. Now, doctors can implant these life-saving valves into patients without surgery. CNET's Kara Tsuboi reports...
-87-year-old John Grigsby's doctor put him in the top predicament 2 years ago. -He said I give you 3 to 6 months of the outside to live, more likely 3 months. -He needed a new aortic valve, but wasn't a good candidate for traditional open-heart surgery. -You had the triple bypass. You had stents put in. You've got diabetes. You're recovering from congestive heart failure. -This is daughter Gloria. -But that laundry list combined with his age made him the perfect candidate for Edwards Lifesciences' trial SAPIEN valve that doesn't require any surgery. -Give me any chance I can, I enjoy life. I wanna keep living. -It's mounted inside this metal frame, and this metal frame is able to be crushed or what we call crimped and put on a balloon catheter, which is a small tube and tread it up from an artery in the leg or put through the tip of the heart. -Dr. Michael Mack is the chief of cardiac surgery for the Baylor Healthcare System in Dallas. He was also one of 8 doctors overseeing the FDA trials for the SAPIEN. -This has opened up a whole new area of treatment with patients with a fatal and lethal disease that previously were never referred for surgery. -Grigsby received his new valve in January 2010 and was up and walking that same day. -To be able to replace somebody's heart valve without doing an operation to cut them open even 15 years ago, I couldn't have imagined that happening. -And now, almost 2 years later, he still feels great. -There's no problem. So, I'm thrilled. It saved my life. -And now that the valve is FDA-approved, it has the chance to save someone else's life too. In San Francisco, I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET.com for CBS News.