North West first for cardiac team at Blackpool hospital

An 81-year-old man is the first in the North West to benefit from a new surgical technique for replacing heart valves.

Bob Welsh, from Lancaster, was suffering from a severely narrowed aortic heart valve which was preventing the heart from functioning properly. He needed an operation known as TAVI, transcatheter aortic valve implantation, to repair the valve.

The Cardiac Centre team at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals has been performing TAVI operations since 2008 and marked their 1,000th procedure a year ago.

Most TAVI operations are performed using the artery in the leg as an access point for surgery but Mr Walsh was among the 10% of patients whose femoral artery is too diseased to safely use.

Instead, the Blackpool team performed a percutaneous transaxillary TAVI accessing an artery beneath skin in the chest. The approach is ideal for patient like Mr Welsh because it is minimally-invasive and can be done under either local or general anaesthetic.

The operation was conducted by BTH Consultant Cardiologists Dr David Roberts, Dr Ranjit More and Dr Amr Gamal supported by Consultant Cardiologist Dr Dougie Muir from James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

The team in Blackpool is now looking to expand the transaxillary approach to more patients who could be candidates for the procedure.

“It was a whole team effort. We are grateful for the support of cardiac anaesthetist Dr Chris Rozario, cardiac surgeon Mr Carmelo Raimondo, the vascular team at Royal Preston Hospital and all our cath lab staff who did their best to make it happen,” said Mr Gamal.

Members of the surgical team with the patient

TAVI team with Mr Welsh

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