A Heart Sling May Reduce Need For Open Heart Surgery: The BACE Device
Since 2004, Mardil Inc., has been working on a medical device called BACE (Basal Annuloplasty of the Cardia Externally) to treat a very common heart condition called mitral valve regurgitation - a condition behind many cases of coronary heart disease (CHS). It's an implanted device that is not invasive to the heart, but fits around it like a sling - a tension band with 'weights' that provides the extra support the mitral valve needs to close properly and to keep blood from regurgitating back into the heart.
BACE encircles the heart with chambers that are filled with saline solution to provide adjustable pressure to the ventricle wall and weakened mitral valve, so that the muscles can complete their regular closures as blood leaves the heart.
The BACE technology is safer than mitral valve repair or, in worse cases, heart transplants, because the device is implanted around the heart and there is no contact with blood flow, which adds the risk of thrombosis, stroke, and infection that can occur with more invasive surgeries.
The following video shows how the BACE device works to restore proper function in the mitral valve.
The instrument's effectiveness can be measured instantly by electrocardiogram, and the amount of saline in each chamber can be adjusted for more or less pressure on the valve. Additionally, if after the initial surgery, adjustments are needed, surgeons can access the chambers again through subcutaneous ports in the skin.
No, BACE is not available yet. But clinical studies are taking place now in India, on an upgraded BACE device, and the trials, no doubt, will be continuing. A small previous study in Australia indicated that patient trials improved quality of life as well as mitral valve function.