In brief: FDA approves new heart valve

THURSDAY, NOV. 3, 2011

Washington – Federal health officials have approved a first-of-a-kind artificial heart valve that can be implanted without major surgery, offering a new treatment option for patients who are too old or frail for the chest-cracking procedure currently used.

The Food and Drug Administration said late Wednesday it approved Edwards Lifesciences’ highly anticipated Sapien heart valve, which can be threaded into place through a major artery that runs from the leg up to the heart. Cardiologists say the new approach will help old, sickly patients who cannot undergo the more invasive open heart surgery, which has been used to replace valves for decades.

Other companies have won approval for less-invasive heart valves before, but Edwards’ implant is the first replacement for the aortic valve, the heart’s main doorway.

Solyndra bailout was rejected

Washington – Days before a solar panel maker collapsed, the Obama administration considered a bailout that would have provided an infusion of cash and a new board of directors, including two directors appointed by the Energy Department.

Officials rejected the plan, which was recommended in August by the investment banking firm Lazard Ltd. Lazard was paid $1 million for analyzing options related to the faltering company, Solyndra Inc.

Details of the bailout plan were among nearly 1,200 pages of documents released by the government Wednesday.

Lohan given 30-day sentence

Los Angeles – A judge made Lindsay Lohan’s world a lot smaller Wednesday, ordering the long-troubled actress confined to a jail cell for 30 days and to the state of California when she is released.

The sentence by Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner was aimed at keeping close tabs on Lohan, who acknowledged she recently violated court orders by getting booted from a community service assignment at a women’s shelter.

Lohan has been in court numerous times since her legal problems began in 2007 with a drunken driving case.

In reality, however, the initial 30-day sentence will be significantly shortened by jail overcrowding, and sheriff’s officials said she may only be at the jail for a few hours.


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