Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. revealed today that he recently underwent a rare and new procedure called NobleStitch to repair a hole in his heart. He tells CBN News he's blessed to be alive.
"The doctor who performed the surgery told me that I was very fortunate I had not had a major stroke," Falwell says. "He is the only doctor in the United States who does this procedure, and people fly from all over the world to get this rare procedure done."
Dr. James Thompson, the board-certified medical director of Child Cardiology Associates is the only person in the U.S. who has done the procedure. So far, he's done less than 150 of them. Falwell made the surprise announcement with the doctor at his side at Liberty University's College of Osteopathic Medicine. The event was broadcast at Liberty's Convocation, attended by thousands of students.
The NobleStitch procedure was just recently approved by the FDA and essentially allows doctors to stitch up holes in a patient's heart. Currently, the other ways to repair holes in the heart require either open-heart surgery or inserting a large metal umbrella structure in the heart.
"Dr. Ben Carson told me about this revolutionary new procedure when he spoke at Liberty University's medical school graduation back in May," Falwell tells CBN News. "They go in through your groin area and close holes in hearts. The procedure is far superior to the old method because they don't leave any device or plug in the heart."
Dr. Thompson says the problem with metal devices is that blood clots can still form (though rare) because the metal devices can erode or can react to the nickel element inside of them. In NobleStitch, there is no device in the heart, so clots can't form and infections can't develop. Put simply, this is a surgical procedure without doing surgery. The stitching mechanism is inserted through the groin area and takes roughly 30 minutes.
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