Ten years of pioneering heart surgery in Brighton

Over eight hundred Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) operations since 2007.

This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of Brighton’s first TAVI operation, a revolutionary technique that has allowed hundreds of seriously ill patients to have major heart surgery. Instead of cutting into a patient’s chest to perform open-heart surgery, surgeons reach the heart by cutting a hole in the groin and inserting a new valve from there.

Surgeons at the Royal Sussex County Hospital have carried out over 800 TAVI operations since their first operation on 17 December 2007.

Consultant cardiologist Professor David Hildick-Smith said:

“In 2007, we were the third hospital in the UK to start implanting aortic valves without opening the chest. This therapy has been outstandingly successful and since that time we have implanted over 800 TAVIs in patients, with the lowest documented mortality in the country for this procedure.”

The procedure can be carried out under local anaesthetic in less than an hour and patients recover more quickly when compared to open-heart surgery, with patients often leaving hospital in less than a week.

Heart valve disease is a common, treatable heart condition but many patients do not suffer severe or visible symptoms, or put the symptoms – shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and chest pain – down to the natural ageing process. Its prevalence is expected to double in the next three decades.

If left untreated, half of those patients will die within two years of developing symptoms.

Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart is one of the simplest steps that doctors can take towards diagnosis.

To find out more about the treatment of heart valve disease, visit Heart Valve Voice.