A new option may be on the horizon for those suffering from a serious form of heart disease.

The condition is called mitral valve regurgitation and it causes part of the heart to not close properly and leak, allowing some blood to flow back into the heart. Traditionally, patients are treated with open heart surgery but some just aren't healthy enough to undergo that procedure and are left without options.

A new clinical trial is underway that uses an experimental device with a self-expanding stent and a replacement tissue heart valve.

"This is the first of its kind in the world, really. Mitral valve surgery, up until this point via open heart surgery, open chest procedure, with the heart stopped so this is the first mitral valve replacement product that allows us to do it without opening the chest," said Dr. Faraz Kerendi.

Kerendi is with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons and is expected to be the first Austin cardiothoracic surgeon to implant the new stent valve in late January.

"It creates a whole new opportunity to treat patients who, prior to this, didn't have any options," said Dr. Kerendi.

Mitral valve regurgitation strikes more than four million people and causes fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling or even worse, death.

The trial is expected to start at the end of January and is looking for more patients.

For more information about the trial, go to http://ctvstexas.com/research/