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Heart repair breakthrough

Narrator: Six-year old Edith Ramirez was born with a winning smile. But Edith was also born with a serious and common heart condition called Atrial Septal Defect that if left untreated, could take her life.

Dr. John Moore: Atrial Septic Defect is a hole, or an opening, between the two upper chambers of the heart. It puts a very heavy load on the heart and causes heart failure, causes heart rhythm problems and eventually causes early death.

Narrator: For the first time, doctors can mend the hole inside Edith's heart and those of thousands of others born with the same defect every year without performing open heart surgery. Doctors at UCLA will use these two tiny wire mesh discs to patch the hole in Edith's heart instead.

Dr. John Moore: This device basically fills in the hole and plugs it up.

Narrator: It is a big relief for Edith's mom and dad.

Hospital Staff/Interpreter: He says that he's happy that the surgery - her chest doesn't have to be opened.

Narrator: Instead of opening Edith's chest, doctors guide the wire patch called the Amplatzer Septal Occuluder through an incision in her leg. The patch follows and artery directly into her heart. Once inside, the folded patch is expanded to fill the hole. An hour into the procedure, doctors deploy the wire mesh patch to mend the life-threatening, nickel-sized hole in the wall of Edith's heart.

Dr. John Moore: That's the way it's supposed to look and it's supposed to straddle the defect just like it does. It's a tremendous advance; the cells that grow inside the heat actually grow and line the device. They fill the device in and they grow over it.

Dr. Juan Alejos: It's marvelous and I think it's an easy choice. I mean, whether to have a child in the hospital for one day and have no incision and have this defect closed from a small hole in the leg - science and medicine doesn't sit still, I mean it continues to move forward and our ultimate goal is to improve patient care.

Dr. John Moore: There's no trauma to the patient; there's no recovery time essentially and we have found that this device is equally effective to surgery.

Narrator: Twenty-four hours after the procedure, Edith is out of the hospital and on her way home with little more than a Band-Aid on her leg, but the promise of a longer and healthier life.