July 22, 2009 / 9:46 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. panel backs novel Medtronic heart valve

* Panel unanimously urges approval of Melody heart valve

* FDA usually follows panel recommendations

GAITHERSBURG, Md., July 22 (Reuters) - Medtronic Inc (MDT.N) won the backing of a U.S. advisory panel on Wednesday for a novel heart valve that can be implanted in a less invasive way than the open-heart surgery required for traditional valves.

Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unanimously urged approval of the Melody heart valve for a limited group of patients born with specific cardiac defects.

The vote makes it likely the FDA will approve the device as the agency usually follows panel recommendations.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Richard Chang

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