One in five people over the age of 55 has some degree of mitral valve regurgitation. Left untreated, blood flows backwards into the heart, resulting in cardiac failure. Many who suffer from this condition opt out of treatment, as they are often too ill to survive an invasive open-heart surgery.
Giovanni Speziali, MD, a cardiac surgeon at the Mayo Clinic, proposed a solution that would enable surgeons to access the heart through the ribs and repair the damaged valve, leaving the ribcage intact. NeoChord, Inc., a Minneapolis-based medical technology start-up, obtained an exclusive license for Dr. Speziali’s technology and partnered with Worrell to develop the device.