The Golden Jubilee National Hospital has become the first in Scotland to carry out a pioneering, minimally invasive, heart valve replacement technique.
Using a state of the art, suture-less, prosthetic valve, the team at the Golden Jubilee performed the first Right Anterior Thoracotomy (RAT) procedure on a patient requiring Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR). Traditionally a patient’s chest had to be fully opened to provide access to perform an AVR, however the new technique is performed via a small incision in the chestwall – improving the outcome and speeding up recovery for the patient.
The procedure was carried out by Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon Mr Fraser Sutherland, with assistance from fellow surgeon Mr Philip Curry and Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Adarsh Lal. It was overseen by Professor Otto Dapunt, one of the world’s leading experts in suture-less replacement procedures, who has been assisting the team as they prepared to carry out the procedure.
Mr Sutherland explained: “This is a milestone for the Golden Jubilee National Hospital and marks the culmination of three years of concerted effort from our team of doctors, nurses and managers to make this treatment available for our patients.
“The main benefit of the Right Anterior Thoracotomy approach is that it is minimally invasive. Traditionally, to perform AVR the patient’s chest must be fully opened and a replacement valve sutured in place: the physical impact this has on the patient can be quite traumatic and takes up to three months to heal. With this new technique, patients are able to get back to leading a normal, active, lifestyle far quicker.”
The first patient underwent the procedure in March and responded extremely well. They have since been discharged and will continue to have their progress monitored.
Mr Sutherland commented: “There are many benefits to this technique and we are hopeful to be able to offer it to more patients requiring AVR going forward.
“The procedure is quicker and more efficient than the current method; we are also hopeful that this can be adapted to other replacement and repair procedures, offering potentially huge savings to the Golden Jubilee and the NHS as a whole.”
Commenting on the development, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil, said: “This is a significant development for Scotland and one which will bring huge benefits for patients across the country. Such a minimally-invasive type of heart valve replacement surgery will mean that patients undergoing this surgery will have a much quicker recovery, helping them lead a normal, healthy life sooner than before.
“As a major heart and lung centre, the Golden Jubilee has a proven track record in innovation and research in this field. It’s good to see that, yet again, the NHS in Scotland is at the forefront of new and innovative methods that demonstrate we are well placed to keep up with the ever changing world of modern health care.”
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital is home to regional heart and lung services for NHS Scotland and is the flagship hospital for reducing waiting times in key elective specialties.