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New technique for heart patients

15th August 2011

A hospital in Scotland has begun to use a new procedure in surgery for heart patients which involves using veins to help to replace the pulmonary valve.

heart surgery

Surgeons at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank said they would not have to perform open-heart surgery by instead pushing the replacement valve via a vein.

The new technique has decreased the amount of time heart patients need to recover from surgery.

Children at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow have also been recipients of the new technique.

Dr Nikki Walker, who carries out the operations, said: "The veins that connect from the leg up into the heart are actually in a relatively straight line."

"That allows you to pass a catheter with a wire in it that acts then like a railroad through which you can pass balloons or the valve itself.

"There's an inner balloon and an outer balloon that lets you mould it into the optimum position within the heart and then, as you deflate the balloon, the valve starts working immediately."

Ernie Donelly was one of the first patients to receive the new procedure. Mr Donnelly has had more traditional heart operation carried out in previously.

He said that both times he woke up from normal heart operations he was in pain.

However, he said the new procedure was the opposite: "Elation wouldn't be a strong enough word because I really couldn't believe it." 

 

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