15 years of game changing cardiac care in Queensland

Cardiologist Dr Karl Poon and patient Ray Elford.

Cardiologist Dr Karl Poon with patient, Ray Elford who had a transaortic heart valve implantation procedure in September.

Advances in cardiac care led by The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) have allowed thousands of Queensland patients to receive lifesaving treatment without the need for open heart surgery.

For the past 15 years, TPCH’s Cardiology Service has been Queensland’s pioneer for many new procedures that enable diseased and damaged heart valves to be replaced via a tiny hole in the groin.

The introduction of transaortic valve implantation (TAVI) has allowed cardiologists to replace key valves within the heart through minimally invasive techniques that are less traumatic to the patient.

Using this treatment, patients can now have their damaged aortic, mitral tricuspid and pulmonary valves replaced without surgery via a catheter through the femoral artery in the leg.

TPCH Director of Cardiology Professor Darren Walters said that transaortic valve implantation is one of the greatest advances in cardiac care in the last 50 years.

“Being able to avoid traumatic open heart surgery is a significant development because many patients are unsuitable for that type of invasive procedure,” Prof Walters said.

“More than 50 per cent of patients are unable to receive open heart surgery due to their age and level of frailty. If left untreated, these patients would not survive.

“With transaortic valve implantation, the patient has no heart arrest or opening of the chest cavity, mortality rates are lower, there is faster recovery time, and significantly less pain and trauma for the patient.

“With the introduction of more sophisticated valve technology over the years, we have been able to provide more treatment options for patients and improve their health outcomes.
“The treatment is safer, less invasive and recovery is faster compared with traditional open heart surgery.

“It has been a gamechanger for cardiac patients in Queensland and worldwide.”

Since the program commenced in 2008, over 1,500 patients have received new heart valves via the TAVI technique, with the oldest patient successfully receiving the lifesaving treatment at the age of 97 and the youngest at 19 years of age.

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