Alternative heart procedure offers hope to people with ‘time bomb’
Mar 21, 2018
A revolutionary technique providing an alternative to open heart surgery will reach a significant milestone at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital during March.
Following a successful trial period, a specialist cardiac team, led by Interventional Cardiologist Dr Rohan Bhagwandeen, will mark its 40th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) procedure. The team includes Interventional Cardiologist Professor Andrew Boyle, and Cardiothoracic Surgeons Dr Taranpreet Singh and Dr Ross Mejia.
The TAVI technique has significantly improved the lives of patients who suffer from Aortic Stenosis, a debilitating disease that hardens and narrows the aortic valve, restricting the blood flow between the left ventricle and the aorta. This causes shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain and if left untreated, eventual heart failure.
“Older patients and those with other health issues may be considered high risk for traditional valve replacement through open heart surgery,” said Dr Bhagwandeen. The TAVI procedure involves an artificial valve (made of natural animal heart tissue) being guided to the heart via a blood vessel in the leg. The new valve is then released pushing aside the damaged valve and allowing unrestricted blood flow.
Dr Bhagwandeen says not only does the TAVI help to greatly improve a patient’s quality of life, but allows for shorter admission and recovery times.
“A major heart operation can sometimes require patients to stay in hospital for several weeks recuperating, whereas TAVI patients can leave as early as three days after their procedure.”
Lake Macquarie Private Hospital began trialling the TAVI procedure three years ago and is the only private hospital in New South Wales outside Sydney to achieve national credential status. Patients undergoing TAVI are now covered though the Medicare Benefits Schedule and their private health insurance. “Although it’s regarded as a minimally invasive procedure there is still complexity and risk involved, and we are delighted with the success achieved by our experienced TAVI team at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital,” said Dr Bhagwandeen.
“We are now ready to undertake more procedures and are working towards providing this specialised service to patients in the public hospital system.” Lake Macquarie Private Hospital is the region’s leading acute medical and advanced surgical private hospital. It has a strong history of delivering progressive and high quality medical services and care including a 24-hour Emergency Department.
Dr Rohan Bhagwandeen with TAVI recipient Joan Jones, 93. She is one of the first patients to undergo the procedure in the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital.