Why so much hype for one procedure?

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The New York Times and at least one television network newscast profiled a first-of-its-kind aortic valve implant done through a catheter feeding the device through a vein in the patient’s leg rather than by open heart surgery.

Why such hype? As the Times reports, the operation was the first of “at least 150 that federal regulators will require before considering approval of the technique for widespread use.”

If the trial fails, will the story get this much coverage? Why can’t we wait until there’s some evidence?

And costs? The new valve implants are expected to cost between $10,000 and $12,000, which is double the price of surgically implanted valves.

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