Lifesaving device helps grandparents live longer
2 April 2012
A new lifesaving heart device for patients over 75 years old will help them recover faster, spend less time in hospital and back to a full and happy life.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital is currently the only Victorian hospital, and second in Australia, to implant a new aortic valve without suturing it into place – reducing operative times and potential surgery complications such as stroke, organ failure and bleeding.
Mr Simon Moten, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said the new stent, known as Perceval S, was an innovative device designed to reduce risk and complications associated with valve replacement at open heart surgery, with recovery times likely to improve significantly.
“The aortic valve prosthesis is mounted on a self-expanding stent that holds it in place, reducing the need to suture the valve, compared with traditional valve replacement surgery. This has several advantages,” Mr Moten said.
“Firstly, it is significantly quicker, with the heart being stopped for only 15-20 minutes, compared to 60 to 90 minutes. Secondly, we can implant the valve with only partially dividing the sternum or by implanting it through a small incision between the ribs.
“It also reduces the procedure time and therefore the risks associated with surgery, and ultimately the time the patient will need to spend in hospital. More people, who would otherwise have been considered too high risk for surgery, can now benefit from this procedure.”
The aortic valve controls blood flow from the heart which then circulates to the rest of the body. When, for some people, the valve has narrowed, blocked or leaked, patients need to undergo an aortic valve replacement.
Traditional aortic valve replacement can be complicated and a time consuming process, taking several hours in surgery followed by a couple of days in intensive care and then to a ward.
Mr Moten said the pioneering device would be available for patients over 75 years old requiring an aortic valve replacement or patients at high risk of cardiac surgery.
“Failure to treat this condition may result in heart failure, chest pain and ultimately premature death,” he said. “Aortic valve replacement has the capacity to improve the quality of life for so many people and we are excited to be able to deliver this procedure in a safer manner to more people.”
Media Contact: Melea Tarabay, Media Relations Manager, 0407 860 687