Ret. Brigadier General Becomes First Patient in Scripps Trial to Test New Device for Patients with a Life-threatening Heart Condition

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Retired Brigadier General Stanford Brown became the first patient at Scripps Health to take part in an investigational transcatheter aortic heart valve replacement trial called the Medtronic CoreValve Surgical Replacement and Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation.

Retired Brigadier General Stanford Brown has a long and decorated history of giving back to his country.

Among his many accomplishments, he fought valiantly in the Vietnam War, served as the commander for March Air Force Base, and helped establish the Veteran Affairs National Cemetery in Riverside.

And most recently, Brown, 85, underwent an experimental heart procedure that will hopefully add more years to his remarkable life and allow him to continue giving back to his community.

On Oct. 22, the Riverside resident became the first patient at Scripps Health to take part in an investigational transcatheter aortic heart valve replacement trial called the Medtronic CoreValve Surgical Replacement and Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (SURTAVI).

The SURTAVI trial is the largest global, randomized, controlled trial to evaluate transcatheter aortic valve implantation in less-sick patients who today are typically treated with open-heart surgical aortic valve replacement.

“We are investigating whether the CoreValue System may be a viable treatment option for this large population of patients who are looking for an alternative treatment to open heart surgery,” said Paul Teirstein, M.D., principal investigator and director of interventional cardiology, Scripps Clinic. “It can potentially improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of heart patients suffering with severe aortic stenosis.”

Dr. Teirstein performed Brown’s percutaneous heart valve replacement at Scripps Green Hospital. Using advanced imaging techniques and only small incisions, the physician guided a small, collapsible heart valve up to Brown’s heart through an artery in his leg. The procedure is similar to what is used routinely to open and reinforce coronary blood vessels.

Within 24 hours, he was walking around, eating solid food, and said he felt much better. He was discharged from the hospital just four days after his procedure.

Now, just days after his procedure and on a speedy road to recovery, Brown said he is eager to return to his latest civic project – building a military heritage plaza near Riverside’s convention center.

Approximately 300,000 people worldwide suffer from severe aortic stenosis, which occurs when the heart’s aortic valve is narrowed, restricting blood flow from the heart to the body. The condition primarily affects older people and typically develops in individuals between the ages of 50 and 70.

Research shows that, left untreated, as many as 50 percent of aortic stenosis patients with severe symptoms may die within one year. Brown was diagnosed with a serious aortic valve earlier this year after experiencing pain and pressure in his chest.

Scripps is the first in San Diego, and one of up to 75 clinical sites globally that will enroll approximately 2,500 patients through experienced heart teams including interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. The trial will evaluate whether the CoreValve System is non-inferior to surgical valve replacement, based on the composite primary endpoint of all-cause mortality and disabling stroke at 24 months.

The CoreValve System has not been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and is currently limited to investigational use in the United States. The system met the European Union health and safety standards in 2007 and has since been implanted in more than 30,000 people in more than 60 countries outside the United States.

Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a nonprofit integrated health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 13,500 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, hospice and home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of physician offices and 26 outpatient centers and clinics.

Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research, genomic medicine, wireless health care and graduate medical education. With three highly respected graduate medical education programs, Scripps is a longstanding member of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Truven Health Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) has named Scripps one of the top five large health systems in the nation. Scripps is nationally recognized in six specialties by U.S. News & World Report, which places Scripps cardiovascular program among the top 20 in the country. Scripps has been consistently recognized by Fortune, Working Mother magazine and AARP as one of the best places in the nation to work. More information can be found at

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