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[ EN ]

1. A distensible annuloplasty ring, having an inner surface defining an annular opening therethrough, said ring comprising:
a ring member configured and constructed to distend upon application of dilatory force to the inner surface thereof;
a saturable material disposed on said ring member to facilitate suturing-in-place of said ring member to surrounding anatomical tissue.
2. The annuloplasty ring of Claim 1 wherein said ring member comprises:
a plurality of segments movably coupled to one another such that exertion of dilatory pressure against the inner surface of said ring member will cause said segments to move apart from one another, thereby increasing the annular size of the ring member.
3. The annuloplasty ring of Claim 2 wherein said segments further comprise:
frictional locator means formed on said segments to control the amount of annular distension that the ring will undergo upon application of dilatory pressure thereto and to prevent inadvertent movement of the segments relative to one another.
4. The annuloplasty ring of Claim 1 wherein said ring member is formed of distendable material which retains a distended configuration.
5. The annuloplasty ring of Claim 4 wherein said distendable material is a plastic which is capable of being stretched, and which will retain a stretched configuration after stretching thereof.
6. The annuloplasty ring of Claim 1 further comprising: a substantially impermeable sheath positioned around said ring member to prevent blood from contacting said ring member.
7. The annuloplasty ring of Claim 1 wherein said saturable material comprises Dacron mesh.
8. A method of performing remodeling atrioventricular annuloplasty in a pediatric patient, said method comprising:
a) implanting the distensible annuloplasty ring of Claim 1 within the annulus of an atrioventricular valve;
b) subsequently, when it is desired to increase the annular size of the annuloplasty ring, inserting a dilation apparatus into the valve in which the annuloplasty ring is inflated and utilizing said delation apparatus to distend the annuloplasty ring to a larger annular size.
9. The method of Claim 9 wherein step b) comprises:
advancing a catheter transluminally through the vasculature to a point where the distal end of the catheter is positioned adjacent the valve wherein the annuloplasty ring is implanted; and
subsequently advancing said dilation apparatus through said catheter and into its desired position within the valve for subsequent dilation of the annuloplasty ring.