Transcatheter mitral valves are going to the dogs

Avalon Medical's MitralSeal

The field of transcatheter mitral valve repair may move more quickly in pet populations than it does in human medicine, according to a presentation during this week’s American College of Cardiology conference in San Francisco.

Researchers are hard at work on a technology, called MitralSeal, they they hope to bring to market to treat mitral valve regurgitation in dogs.

"It’s an important place where I think we will see developments, even before we see them in man," Dr. Peter Block, assistant professor of medicine at The Emory Clinic in Georgia, told an audience during a mitral valve panel.

Dogs may play an important role for TMVI systems makers as they watch for areas of improvement, because they represent "mother nature’s way of having a natural model for mitral regurgitation."

Colorado State University has teamed up with veterinary device maker Avalon Medical to develop a transcatheter, minimally invasive mitral valve repair system, Block noted.

About 1 in 10 dogs are affected by canine mitral valve disease, the leading cause of death and disability in dogs, according to Avalon.

"The symptoms of CMVD can be controlled with drugs for a period of time, but patients often cannot enjoy normal activities and struggle to survive," according to Avalon’s website. "Ultimately, congestive heart failure is 100% fatal."

The market for the product is not immaterial, Block noted, and the research community would do well to keep an eye on developments there.

"Trust me, people will line up to have their dogs repaired if they’re 6 years old and dying of heart failure," Block said. "And they’ll pay cash."

Abbott (NYSE:ABT) landed an FDA panel date to review its MitraClip mitral valve repair system later this month.

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