Hope for cardiac patients when surgery is not an option

October 2015

Hope for cardiac patients when surgery is not an option

October 2015



Brisbane’s Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital has recently performed its first TAVI procedure for a 91-year-old with severe aortic stenosis.

Trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is also called Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This new procedure is for people who are not suitable for open-heart surgery because they have many other medical problems that make surgery too risky.

This procedure is a breakthrough for many older patients with Aortic Stenosis.

Aortic stenosis explained

Aortic stenosis is a condition where the aortic valve cannot open and close properly when blood is pumped from the heart to the rest of the body. The condition puts extra strain on the heart and can cause breathlessness, swollen ankles, chest pain, dizziness, or blackouts. 

Associate Professor Con Aroney, who lead the implantation of the first TAVI at HSNPH said, “Usually aortic stenosis is treated with open-heart surgery, but this new innovative TAVI procedure now offers hope for many who are considered surgically unsuitable”.

The implantation procedure

Trans-catheter aortic valves are specially designed for the TAVI procedure and are implanted via a catheter into a large blood vessel in the groin or through a small incision in the chest.

To implant it into the heart, the catheter is guided to the aortic valve opening where it is implanted over the existing valve. Once the new valve is implanted, the catheter is removed. The new valve starts working right away.

Assessing and treating complex cardiac disease

Associate Professor Aroney continues, “Cardiac disease is becoming a very complex condition to treat. As we live longer, doctors encounter patients with a cardiac condition and many other complicated and associated conditions.

To ensure patients are suitable for this TAVI procedure, the patient’s case notes are discussed at the HSNPH Heart Valve Team. This collaboration is a multidisciplinary team of cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac anaesthetists, intensivists and more, who assess patients with complex heart valve disease”.

The Heart Valve Team can assist in determining which techniques and procedures will be the most effective option for the patient’s specific condition by weighing-up the risks and benefits.

This team approach was an Australian first for this standard of medical collaboration and innovation when introduced to HSNPH in 2012.

Daniele Doyle, General Manager, Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital says, “This hospital is one of the largest provider of private cardiac medical and surgical services in Queensland.

With the recent installation of Queensland’s new hybrid cardiac catheter laboratory (CCL) at Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital, we have been able to grow in structural heart disease and facilitate the latest techniques and procedures - including the TAVI.

This new technology, embraced by our cardiologists, endorses our commitment to provide innovative cardiac services for our north side patient community.”

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