VeloX, a prosthetic heart valve developed by National University of Singapore researchers, can be implanted through a small incision for the treatment of a serious heart valve disorder called mitral regurgitation. The device is particularly beneficial to patients who are of high surgical risk or are unsuitable for existing clinical interventions.

Mitral regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral valve on the left side of the heart does not close properly. Blood flows backward into the upper heart chamber, or atrium, from the lower chamber as it contracts, reducing the amount of blood that flows to the rest of the body.

The standard treatment for severe mitral valve regurgitation is open-heart surgery whereby the diseased valve is replaced or repaired. Many patients who are elderly or are suffering from multiple chronic diseases, however, are not suitable for the treatment.

The VeloX valve is made of pericardial tissue, "stitched” within a self-expanding, polymer-coated nickel-titanium (nitinol) alloy stent frame specially designed to prevent leaks.

To implant the device, the prosthetic valve is compressed to the thickness of a pencil and loaded into a catheter. The catheter is inserted into the patient through a small incision made either at the leg or between the ribs to deliver the device straight into the left heart. The catheter then sends the device to the patient’s diseased mitral valve. To facilitate accurate placement, the device is designed to be retrievable and repositionable.

VeloX restores the unidirectional flow of the blood in the left heart and helps alleviate the symptoms associated with mitral regurgitation.