Advance in heart surgery11th September 2007
Patients could be helped by new keyhole heart surgery, which has been performed for the "first time" in the UK.
It means that thousands more patients may be able to have this faster and safer operation rather than open heart surgery.
Surgeons - working at King's College London as part of a clinical trial - have used the technique in order to place a replacement valve in the hearts of two "high risk" patients.
Around 18,000 people have heart surgery annually, in order to combat aortic valve stenosis. This condition occurs when the heart valve narrows and is common in the elderly.
Open heart surgery involves a patient's chest being opened and the heart stopped in order to insert a new valve. It is a serious and lengthy operation, which has not been performed on frail patients due to the risks involved.
Earlier in 2007, surgeons at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester were "the first in the UK" to insert a new heart valve using non-invasive techniques.
Keyhole surgeries are a better option for weak patients, because they take less time and anaesthetic and have a shorter recovery period.
Mr Olaf Wendler, who worked in the King's College team, said: "These new minimally-invasive procedures could potentially revolutionise treatment for patients who suffer from this condition."
He said he thought 4,000 to 5,000 patients could benefit from the surgery if the new technique was used by surgeons in the UK.
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Title: Advance in heart surgery
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 4027
Date Added: 11th Sep 2007