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Historic Heart Operations At Waikato Hospital

Media Release

Date: 8 December 2008

Historic Heart Operations At Waikato Hospital

Two patients having heart operations at Waikato Hospital on Wednesday will be the first in the southern hemisphere to have aortic valve replacements done through a small incision in the chest on a beating heart.

The procedures on an 86-year-old Otorohanga woman and a 77-year-old Thames man are combined ones with cardiac surgeons and cardiologists in the hospital cath lab.

Leading the surgery are cardiothoracic surgeon Nand Kejriwal and cardiologist Sanjeevan Pasupati under the watchful eye of a Canadian cardiac surgeon.

"This gives another option for patients who have poor vascular access and suffer from severe aortic stenosis and considered high risk for surgery," said Dr Pasupati.

Dr Pasupati has already done 12 aortic valve replacements through the artery in the groin including two today (Monday).

The ones today were with Edwards valves and the approach was similar to the CoreValve operations which took place in August on Ramona Johnson, 79, of Tauranga and the second on a 91-year-old Hamilton woman. Five patients got CoreValves last week.

The team also includes surgeon Grant Parkinson, interventional cardiologists Gerard Devlin and Rikard Linder and echo specialist Raewyn Fisher.

Aortic stenosis is the most prevalent heart valve disease in the western world.

About 120 patients a year present at Waikato Hospital with aortic stenosis. This is a condition where the main outflow valve from the heart thickens and does not open fully. As all the blood leaving the heart has to go through this valve, severe narrowing of the valve causes restricted blood flow to the rest of the body.

Restricted blood flow puts a strain on the heart and eventually causes breathlessness, chest pain, blackouts, and heart failure.

The operations are all done thanks to the generosity of the Waikato Heart Trust.


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