Certain patients cannot undergo the normal replacement of valves. Small numbers of these patient may be suitable for a new approach to aortic valve replacement; using an artificial valve passed to the heart using a catheter through a hole in the groin.
In a similar way that the majority of the procedures are performed in the cardiac catheterisation laboratories, a balloon is fed to the heart but instead of pushing aside disease in coronary arteries it is used to open up the aortic valve to make it ready for a replacement valve. The replacement is then advanced across the narrowed valve (held in a cage system) and secured in place.
Blackpool is one of a limited number of hospitals that have being given the opportunity to utilise this approach and so far the cases are going well.
As these patients do not have the typical valve operation, and the procedure is much less invasive the recovery time is much quicker and we hope they can go onto leading normal lives again.