Melody® Valve: Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve Replacement

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Heart valve issues make it harder to live your life. They can leave you tired, anxious, and struggling to breathe. Some valve conditions, like those caused by congenital heart disease (conditions you're born with), mean that you'll need many heart surgeries throughout your life. A Melody valve can lower the number of surgeries you'll need.

UVA Health's heart and vascular experts have the training, tools, and experience you can trust to answer your questions about heart valve treatments. We bring together our heart and vascular specialists, genetic counselors, and other experts to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and create a plan of action just for you. 

Melody Valve Placement at UVA Health

The Melody valve replaces your bad lung valve (the pulmonary valve). It's only approved for patients who have already had pulmonary valve repair surgery. Over time, that pulmonary valve repair might fail or wear out. That means your valve is leaking or blocked again. The Melody valve replaces your pulmonary heart valve. 

The Melody valve placement procedure is called transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement. Traditionally, heart valves were treated with open surgery. That means a large cut on your body and a long recovery time.

With transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement, you don't need open surgery. We can put the valve in through only a small cut on your leg (it's a kind of minimally invasive procedure). 

Melody Valve Procedure: What to Expect

To put the Meloday valve in, we use a small flexible tube (called a catheter). We use this tube to see the issues with your pulmonary valve. And we use the same method to place the Melody valve.

Your doctor makes a small cut on your leg to get to your veins. The Melody valve is attached to a balloon at the end of the catheter. We then send the catheter through your veins up to your heart (called cardiac catheterization).

When the Melody valve gets to your old pulmonary valve, we inflate the balloon. That expands the valve into position. It also moves the diseased valve out of the way. Now, blood can flow from your heart to your lungs as it should.

Sammy Wicks being held by his mom. He is the youngest person to get a Melody valve.

Sammy Wicks: Youngest Person to Get a Melody Valve

At just 1 month old, Sammy Wicks needed a heart valve repair. Surgeons at UVA Health were able to use a modified Meldoy valve to fix it. As he grows, the Melody valve can be expanded to grow with him. Now, Sammy is a typical, playful kid.

Read Sammy's Story

What is a Melody Valve?

Congenital heart disease can affect your pulmonary valve. The pulmonary valve is in your heart. It's like a door that keeps blood going to your lungs from flowing backward into the right pumping chamber of your heart. Heart valve surgery and procedures can correct this.

Over time, repairs to your pulmonary valve can fail. You'll start having blood flow back to your heart from your lungs again. That causes stress on your heart. You can get heart rhythm problems and heart failure from it.

They're made from cows. Cows have a valve in their jugular vein. The Melody valve takes the cow valve and attaches it to a metal frame. 

Am I a Good Candidate for a Melody Valve?

A Melody valve isn't right for every pulmonary valve repair. And you might not be a good candidate for a catheter-based procedure.

We'll check to see if you're a good candidate with:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • CT angiography