Edwards was a 60-year old recently retired engineer who had a fascination with healing the heart, developed whilst he was in his teens after suffering two bouts of rheumatic fever; a condition which can cause heart valve scarring and eventually lead to heart failure. After some initial work, the concept of an artificial heart was deemed too complex for the time, but what it did lead Edwards to develop was the world’s first artificial mitral heart valve.
Today, with sales of $4.3bn, Edwards Lifesciences is the leader in tissue replacement heart valves and repair products and advanced hemodynamic monitoring (the physics of blood flows in blood vessels). In recent years, its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) products have been a game changer. Rather than patients enduring the grisliness of traditional open heart surgery where their chest is broken open, causing much blood loss and many hours of surgery, they can instead have a TAVR inserted via the femoral artery in their leg… impressive stuff!
Yet, as with many businesses, the near-term outlook for Edwards’ remains uncertain given the backdrop of Covid-19, which has caused many procedural delays.