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Democratic congressman has heart valve replacement procedure

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has undergone a heart procedure and will remain hospitalized for a few days. That's the word from Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. He says in a statement that he had what he calls a "minimally invasive medical procedure" on Wednesday — a transarterial aortic valve replacement — at Johns Hopkins Hospital to treat aortic stenosis.

The aortic valve is the heart's main doorway, and with age it can become too narrow, causing the heart to work harder to squeeze blood through. Open-heart surgery to replace that valve with an artificial one has long been the main treatment. But the less invasive option is becoming more common: Instead of cracking open the chest, a valve attached to a catheter is threaded through an artery to the heart and wedged inside the old valve to take over its job.

The lawmaker is expected to remain hospitalized for a few days.

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