A surgeon’s pioneering work is attracting the attention of clinicians from across the world.
Dr Scott Gall, a Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, has become known as an expert across the world on laser ablation surgery to treat abnormal heart rhythms.
And this week Dr Sanjay Deshpande, a consultant cardiologist from Milwaukee, USA, visited the centre to see Dr Gall perform the surgery.
Dr Gall said: “Patients across the county have been benefiting from this pioneering surgery for some time.
“We are a nationally accredited training centre in the UK but we are now also seen as an international training centre and have a number of people from all parts of the world looking to come to Blackpool to see what we do.
“Thanks to our fantastic cath lab staff we became the first independently accredited laser ablation centre in the world and also one of the most experienced centres for this procedure.
“I have presented our results at several international conferences and this has brought recognition for the work we are doing at the Lancashire Cardiac centre and is why people are keen to come across and see how we do it.”
Describing the operation Dr Gall said: “The surgery is for atrial fibrillation which is the most common type of irregular heart rhythm.
“The procedure involves trying to isolate the short circuits within the heart that cause the abnormal heart rhythm. It’s a very common condition that affects a lot of people, some dramatically.
“It increases the risk of having a stroke and often disables patients with symptoms and hopefully this procedure gives them their life back and reduces future risk and the results seem to be improved using this procedure.
“This technology is unique in that it uses a tiny camera within a balloon that allows me to see directly inside the heart without having to cut open the chest as it is all inserted through the vein in the leg under local anaesthetic.
“This allows more accurate visualisation of the heart than only relying on X rays or computer software. This technology seems to be more efficient and although some patients with atrial fibrillation often require more than one procedure we have found that by using this technology you get better first time results, and have less need for multiple procedures.
“It is also quicker, usually taking under 90 minutes whereas with other technology it can be considerably longer. There are also are fewer X Rays which means less radiation for the patients and the operator.’’
He added: “I have always had an interest in treating atrial fibrillation and have tried to use the best available technology to give the patients the best outcome.
“It is a team approach and I am lucky to have a very experienced support team in the cath lab which has allowed the centre to provide these cutting edge treatments.
“There are a lot of patients in the region that need this procedure and over the last few years I have suddenly become one of the most experienced operators in the world. We have the highest volume of patients in the UK benefiting from this procedure here in Blackpool and the feedback from patients has been excellent.”
Dr Deshpande said: “I have a great interest in this type of surgery and Dr Gall is an expert in the field.
“It is great to be able to come to Blackpool and see him perform the operation first hand. It is by far the best way to learn from the experts and I have learned a great deal about the procedure.’’