Westmead-first heart procedure gives patients new lease on life

patient praises doctors
Allenby George is praising doctors for the new heart procedure.
















Westmead Hospital staff are celebrating a new procedure that made a complex heart operation much easier for elderly and high-risk patients.

The procedure provides patients with a non-invasive and less stressful operation that previously required open heart surgery, a day of life support for monitoring and extensive rehabilitation.

Allenby George, 87, said he was thrilled to have been one of the first to undergo the procedure.

“I am feeling great, I feel reborn,” said Mr George.

“They didn’t have to open my chest, I don’t even see a scar, it’s unbelievable. I don’t have enough words to praise what the doctors have done for me.”

Westmead Hospital consultant cardiologist Dr David Tanous said the procedure had been successfully performed in two patients.

“We’re pleased to report that our patients are doing very well,” he said.

Prior to having the procedure, the two patients were struggling with breathlessness due to severe narrowing of their aortic valve and were at high risk of dying in the next 12 months.

Now, with the successful valve replacement, they can expect to return to their normal lifestyles.

“The procedure was conducted by a large team of doctors, nurses, technicians and other staff from the departments of cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery and anaesthesia,” Dr Tanous said.

“Thanks to a collaborative effort from the heart team, which comprised medical and nursing staff, geriatric medicine, radiology and cardiothoracic intensive care, the new technique was made possible.”

Patients underwent a rigorous assessment to determine their suitability for the operation. The procedure was performed via a tube that was passed from an artery in the leg to the aortic valve. A valve was then inflated inside the previously narrowed valve, with the new valve immediately functioning normally.

“Both patients were woken up as soon as the procedure was completed, which is a fantastic result,” said Dr Tanous.

“They were able to sit up and have breakfast the following morning and we anticipate they will return home in a few days.

“With open heart valve surgery for patients of this age and comorbidity, they would have anticipated to be on a life support for a minimum of a day with an average stay in hospital of 10 to 14 days and a prolonged rehabilitation period.”

Westmead Hospital is a leading cardiothoracic surgical and cardiology centre and is already the leading centre in NSW for many cardiac procedures including adult congenital cardiac surgery and interventions and cardiac electrophysiology.

Audrey Hallcroft and Allenby George were the first to receive the Westmead-first heart treatment.

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