Skip to main content

Expanded heart treatment now available at St George Hospital

Patients with heart problems can expect a speedy recovery and better quality of life, thanks to a new treatment available at St George Hospital.

For the first time at the hospital, cardiologists performed a minimally invasive procedure where a new aortic valve is implanted through the femoral artery (a puncture in the groin).

The Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) was approved in 2017 as appropriate treatment for people who were considered too high risk for open heart surgery.

Head of cardiology, Mark Sader, says the treatment is a life-saving option for patients considered in-operable.

“Cardiothoracic surgery is a very good operation with proven excellent outcomes and good long term survival,” he said.

“This treatment has a very similar approach but it is a smoother and more efficient technique.

“The valve and size of the delivery tube is smaller, and the procedure is quicker. Where we would do two open heart surgeries, we can do up to four of these procedure, so it takes half as long.”

Dr Sader says patient outcomes are improved.

“The chest isn’t cut open so recovery is faster,” he said.

“The patients were up and walking two days later, and going home, whereas with surgery they may be in hospital for up to 10 days.

“It isn’t about making an 80 year-old 20 years younger – the main outcome for people in this age group is to help them live better.”

Previously, patients were required to travel out of area for assessment, treatment and follow-up, to the Royal Prince Alfred, St Vincent’s and Royal North Shore hospitals.

They can now receive continuity of care from specialists in the area.

John O’Dwyer, 86, and Henry Solari, 89, of Cronulla, were the first two patients to have the procedure done at Kogarah.

“Mr O’Dwyer has skin issues so an operation would have caused significant blistering,” Dr Sader said.

“St George is a major heart site for the area and because we’re a leading service, we wanted to have the full array of procedure options with the technology that is available. It’s a space that will keep on improving.”