The Medical Need

Patients with Rheumatic Heart Disease*

Carapetis J.R > et al (2015) Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease
NATURE REVIEW Dis Primers doi:10.1038/nrdp.2015.84

Rheumatic Heart Disease

40 million people living with RHD, resulting in 300,000 deaths a year

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is a potentially deadly but preventable disease affecting at least 40 million people – mostly in developing countries. This is a similar incidence level as HIV/AIDS, yet RHD receives less than 1% of the research funding allocated to HIV/AIDS. In 2018, the WHO declared RHD a global health priority.

RHD is triggered by streptococcal bacteria, the bacterium responsible for the common throat infection known as Strep Throat. If left untreated, a patient’s immune system can turn against their own heart while fighting the infection. This leads to an acute inflammation of the heart and the heart valves accompanied by Acute Rheumatic Fever.

Rheumatic Fever primarily affects vulnerable young people, and is often followed by chronic RHD that irreversibly damages the patient’s heart valves. Once patients become symptomatic, open-heart surgery is currently the only treatment. In developing countries, this is usually not feasible from a medical infrastructure, medical skills or cost perspective.

SAT’s innovative RHD medical solutions eliminate this requirement for open-heart surgery. SAT’s heart valves are suited for younger RHD patients in whom conventional heart valve prostheses often degenerate rapidly.

SAT technology offers cost-effective and minimally-invasive transcatheter heart therapies, allowing RHD patients to undergo life-saving treatment where there is currently no alternative option.


While Rheumatic Heart Disease has largely been eliminated in developed countries, other types of heart valve disease – mainly caused by age or lifestyle choices – remain common and affect an increasing proportion of the population.

The most common heart valve disease in developed countries is Aortic Stenosis (AS) – a condition where a hardening of the aortic valve is caused by calcium deposits. A second condition, Aortic Regurgitation (AR), is less common.

In severe cases of both diseases, the historic method of valve replacement has been via invasive open-heart surgery. In 2007, regulatory approval was granted in Europe to perform valve replacements via a minimally-invasive tube/catheter (transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVI/TAVR). This technology was subsequently adopted by other developed countries, and is now commonly used to treat AS.

The current market-leading transcatheter aortic valve is moved into position in a crimped-down state and expanded by a micro-balloon when in place. Other valves use a self-expanding metal technology.

SAT’s TAVI is unique in that it is a second-generation balloon expandable valve, designed to treat both AR and AS (in developed and emerging markets), with extended durability, and at a significantly reduced cost.