SALT LAKE CITY -- Charli Noyes is learning to dance to a new heartbeat.
She is the first patient in the intermountain region to receive a transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement on her heart, without having to undergo open-heart surgery.
Noyes, 20, of Sunset, along with Dr. Collin Cowley and Dr. Robert Gray, met Monday with the media at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City to explain the procedure and its benefits.
"I'm dancing to a whole new heartbeat," Noyes said.
The surgery took place Thursday at Primary Children's Medical Center, and Noyes walked out of the hospital around noon the following day.
She was born with a congenital heart disease and has undergone a number of surgeries since she was 14 months old. Noyes has had two pacemakers, and when she was 15 years old her pulmonary valve was replaced.
Birth defects involving the heart affect about 1 percent of all live births, Cowley said.
Noyes needed to have this valve replaced again and was asked by her doctor if she would be interested in being the first patient to have a Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in January. It also has been approved for use throughout the world, according to a news release.
"I can tell you the difference in the two surgeries," Noyes said. "The first surgery, they opened my chest when I was 15 years old. I was sick and throwing up, and spent days in the hospital."
"This one, I walked out of here in 24 hours," Noyes said. "When I got home, I walked to the store and got ice cream. I can chase my 2-year-old around, and before (the surgery) there was no way I could keep up with my son."
Noyes said she has noticed since the surgery she is not as tired as she was before.
Gray, a pediatric cardiologist, said a long thin tube is inserted in the venous access in the leg. The tube travels to the heart, entering into the right ventricle. The surgeon then places the valve, which is attached to a balloon, where he wants it.
The valve itself is made from a cow's jugular vein, then hand-sewn into a thin wire mesh tube, said Cowley, director of the hospital's cardiac catheterization and a pediatric cardiologist.
Primary Children's is the first hospital in the region to offer the procedure. Three other patients, from Idaho, Montana and Arizona, also underwent the surgery following Noyes. Two more patients will have the procedure this week, Gray said.
The hospital also will be among five across the country involved in a study with the transcatheter pulmonary valve.
The major breakthrough with this procedure is that it takes less time for the patient in surgery as well as less time in the hospital, Gray said.
For Noyes' mother, Kimberly Georgie, Thursday's surgery "was much easier on me, too," she said.
She did not have to wait as long for her daughter to recover, nor does she have to do things for her daughter as she has had to in the past.
"She only needs to take one aspirin this time," Georgie said. "Last time she needed painkillers and other medications."
Noyes said she is looking forward to going to school, back to work and playing with her son.