Royal Stoke patients first in UK to get this treatment

-Credit: (Image: University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust)
-Credit: (Image: University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust)

Heart patients at the city's main hospital have become the first in the UK to benefit from a revolutionary new valve implant. The Royal Stoke University Hospital's cardiology department has just started using the new valve for those needing a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI).

TAVI, a treatment for aortic stenosis (AS), involves implanting a new aortic valve into older and high-risk patients using a thin tube, called a catheter, which is put in through a small cut in the upper leg and passed up to the heart. The new valve, which replaces the previous Abbott Navitor system, makes it easier for surgeons to see where the valve is positioned prior to its release.

Dr Karim Ratib, Interventional Cardiologist at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM), said: “Transcatheter valve replacements are increasing in the UK, as they are safer than heart bypass surgeries which put the heart under a lot of strain and would result in a longer recovery time.

"We’re thrilled to be the first heart centre in the country to use this new valve, demonstrating our commitment to continual improvement. It’s great news for our patients as it is now easier and quicker for us to carry out the TAVI procedure. Being able to see the new valve more clearly, we can position it better in the heart, getting better results and reducing the risk of any complications.”

A total of 450 patients received the TAVI procedure at the Royal Stoke in 2023 - the most in a single year since its introduction in 2009. Only 35 heart centres in the UK offer this specialist intervention, with last year’s figures ranking UHNM in the top three performing centres.

The procedure takes around 45 minutes and is carried out under local anaesthetic. Rachel Stuttard, Aortic Valve Clinical Nurse Specialist at UHNM, added: "This is fantastic news for the TAVI service here at UHNM and will improve the service that we already provide to our patients."

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