Intuity Elite Heart Valve System

Bayhealth becomes the first hospital in Delaware to implant new heart valve

Thursday, November 1, 2018 | Heart & Vascular

As another step forward in the growth of Bayhealth’s cardiac surgery program, the team led by Chief Cardiothoracic Surgeon Gary Szydlowski, MD, and Cardiothoracic Surgeon Daniel Marelli, MD, have successfully performed implantation of the EDWARDS INTUITY Elite valve system in three patients for the treatment of aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a condition that causes a hardening or narrowing of the aortic valve opening. It affects millions of older adults worldwide and typically worsens with age. The Journal of Geriatric Cardiology reports that aortic valve disease affects more than 25% of people over the age of 65. Bayhealth became the first hospital in Delaware to use the next-generation device after it received FDA approval.


Common symptoms of aortic stenosis may include chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, or inability to exercise. Experts agree that patients with strong symptoms of this condition have a poor prognosis without intervention such as aortic valve replacement.

Drs. Szydlowski and Marelli answered questions related to this new device for aortic valve replacement and its use at Bayhealth. This adds to the growing number of options to help their patients with cardiovascular conditions improve their function and quality of life.

How are the device and the implantation procedure unique? 

When patients have aortic stenosis, the valve of their aorta — the main artery supplying oxygenated blood to the body — does not open properly. This means the heart must work harder to pump blood through the aortic valve, resulting in reduced blood flow to the body and a weakened heart muscle. It may lead to heart failure if left untreated.

This device requires full cardiac surgery, or open heart surgery. The advantage is that the surgery doesn’t require sutures and is less invasive. Other valves require 12 to 15 reinforced sutures to secure the valve. The new valve is balloon-dilated into place using the EDWARDS INTUITY Elite valve system.

What are the benefits and risks of this procedure? 

The benefits are a quicker operation and the fact that it can allow for a minimally invasive approach with a smaller incision. There also is evidence that this new device may relieve the obstruction better than traditional sutured valves. Because it takes up less space on the wall of the aorta, there is less resistance, which creates superior results.

There are standard risks to any open heart surgery and this would be no different. Pacemakers are a possibility after any cardiac procedure, especially aortic valve replacement, and the chance is slightly higher in these procedures. With any tissue valve like this, patients typically avoid the need for long-term blood thinners. Clinical studies show that this procedure may mean shorter hospital stays and faster healing times for patients.

What are the plans for future use of this procedure?

This is another option for aortic valve replacement. As with any treatment, however, this may not be for everyone. We consider the unique conditions of each of our patients and work with them to determine a course of action.
To be matched with a doctor to meet your cardiac care needs, visit Bayhealth's Find a Doctor page or call 1-866-BAY-DOCS.