With age, the aortic valve calcifies and stiffens, making it less elastic. Calcified aortic stenosis (CAS) is the most common form of valve disease, and affects between 5-10% of the population aged 65 and over. In fact, because of the aging global population, CAS has become a major public health concern. Currently, the only medical response is a valve replacement surgery, but between 20-30% of affected patients are not eligible. In addition, there are numerous complications associated with the treatment, with up to 7% of patients dying during surgery and close to 50% within 3 years.
The Paris, France-based startup Cardiawave is developing a noninvasive approach to repair the aortic valve using ultrasound, without requiring surgery. The innovative device delivers a precise and focused ultrasound beam to soften the tissue, restore elasticity and enable the aortic valve to fully open again. The technology is both an imaging and therapeutic device which is applied directly on the patient’s chest to perform the remote and reparative effect on the aortic valve.
Current treatment options represent a significant cost to public health systems, with overall costs associated with aortic valve disease exceeding $50 billion in Western countries. Cardiawave’s innovative technology could significantly reduce these costs, while increasing access for patients who are not eligible to current treatments. And in contrast to current invasive methods that replace the valve, the treatment developed by Cardiawave repair the native valves, and can be used as preventative medicine to slow the progression of CAS. The disruptive and noninvasive treatment will decrease morbidity rates, risks and complications associated with current treatment options, and improve quality of life for millions of people around the world.
Cardiawave is a spin-off from the French-based Langevin Institute (CNRS/INSERM), the world leader in ultrasound imaging and therapy, and is now located in the ESPCI incubator in Paris. The startup has previously won several awards and contests, including the 2014 and 2015 Worldwide Innovation Contest (CMI), 2014 French National Contest for Innovative Technology Companies, as well as 2015 Fondation pour l’Innovation Thérapeutique Béatrice Denys.