Surgical and interventional specialists at Chicago’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital performed a procedure known as transapical transcatheter aortic valve implantation. The procedure combines the catheterization technology and traditional surgery, allowing doctors to implant a new heart valve in place of diseased valve while his heart remained beating. A 91-year-old Irvin Lafferty was diagnosed with severe blockage of his heart valve using this procedure. McCarthy is a co-principal investigator for the clinical trial that provided Lafferty’s new heart valve, which is formally referred to as the Placement of AoRtic TraNscathetER Valve, or PARTNER. The Bluhm Institute is among the trial’s pioneering sites. McCarthy says the procedure builds upon a routine catheter-based procedure, the balloon aortic valvuloplasty. The artificial valve during insertion remains collapsed until it reaches its destination. The valve is then expanded and released in place of diseased aortic heart valves. The prosthesis is made of stainless steel and biological leaflets that help direct the flow of blood in the heart. It is permanent and integrates an expandable stent that holds the valve in its intended position. Northwestern Memorial utilizes both the transfemoral (through the groin) and transapical (through the ribs) approaches. Implantation occurs in a hybrid operating room suite that incorporates elements of both a traditional OR and catheterization laboratory.