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Successful Aortic Valve Operation At Waikato

Successful Aortic Valve Operation At Waikato

Waikato Hospital surgeons today successfully completed an innovative heart procedure on a 78-year-old Thames man.

Noel Howard had an aortic valve replacement in an operation led by cardiothoracic surgeon Nand Kejriwal and cardiologist Sanjeevan Pasupati under the watchful eye of Dr Anson Cheung, surgical director of cardiac transplantation at the Providence Heart and Lung Institute at St Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.

The procedure enables the replacement of a valve in the aortic artery through a small incision in the chest while the heart is still beating rather than going up through an artery in the groin.

The operation took just over an hour and was the first successful operation of its type in New Zealand.

"Everything went according to plan," said Dr Kejriwal.

Last week Otorohanga woman Ailsa Fleming, 86, was to be the first in the southern hemisphere.

However, she died on the operating table due to a rare complication.

Dr Cheung then went to Australia where he oversaw seven successful procedures. He said he was pleased Mr Howard's operation was a success and praised the Waikato Hospital cardiology team.

A second operation on an 89 year old Hamilton-based Irish woman is about to start.

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.


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