Performed at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, the transapical procedure makes small incisions between the patient’s ribs to deliver the valve through the apex (or lower tip) of the left ventricle of the heart.

During the deployment, the CE-marked 23mm Portico aortic valve made with bovine pericardial tissue increases physicians’ control and placement accuracy, according to the company.

St Paul’s Hospital cardiac transplant director and surgery associate professor Dr Anson Cheung said, "The Portico heart valve offers additional options in terms of resheathing, retrieving or repositioning the valve which in turn facilitates more accurate placement."

In addition to transapical delivery, the Portico valve can be implanted through a catheter inserted in the transfemoral artery which is located in the leg.

St Jude Medical cardiovascular and ablation technologies division president Frank Callaghan said, "The first patient implanted with the transapical delivery approach represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to provide physicians a wide range of options to best treat their patients."

The Portico aortic heart valve, the Transapical delivery system and the Transfemoral delivery system are not approved for use in the US.