TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) - an alternative to open heart surgery

26 September 2019

Introducing Dr Sam Firoozi, who performs many of our TAVI procedures here at Spire St Anthony's Hospital

TAVI is an innovative procedure we offer at Spire St Anthony's Hospital to treat severe aortic valve stenosis. This is a common cardiac condition affecting mainly older patients and if left untreated majorly impacts on a patient’s quality of life and has a high mortality rate. Whilst open heart surgery is one way of treating such cases, TAVI is used as an alternative and offers patients a faster recovery and better outcome compared to conventional surgery. It is now a well-established procedure at Spire St Anthony’s and carried out by multiple consultants with proven, excellent outcomes for the patients. 

Patients are fitted with a new heart valve by passing the valve through an artery in their groin or chest to the heart. The small incision and minimally invasive technique dramatically cuts down the length of recovery time.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Sam Firoozi has completed the majority of TAVI’s at Spire St Anthony’s Hospital and says:

“TAVI has revolutionised the treatment of aortic valve disease which is the commonest serious heart valve condition we see these days. Previously a large proportion of older patients were inoperable, too high risk or too frail to undergo open heart surgery and were left untreated with a very poor outcome and quality of life. We have been treating patients with TAVI for the last 10 years at St George’s Hospital where I work and are now treating younger patients too. I am very pleased we have been able to establish our TAVI program at St Anthony’s Hospital with excellent results and patients no longer have to travel to Central London to find the levels of expertise required and associated with successful cardiac surgery.

“Many people with heart valve disease need little or no treatment and can live a good-quality or normal life for many years. Everyone who has heart valve disease benefits from having regular check-ups, which includes having an echocardiogram. We are proud to offer this and many other cardiac treatments and procedures at the hospital, backed by our level 2 and 3 intensive care unit, traditionally only associated with NHS hospitals.”

Overall there are more than 40 cardiac specialists treating patients at St Anthony’s. The team includes consultant interventional cardiologists, non invasive cardiologists, electrophysiologists, specialist consultant anaesthetists, ITU physicians, nurses, cardiac physiologists and support staff.  

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)

A heart has four valves responsible for pumping blood around the body. If the aortic valve fails to open properly it can obstruct blood flow out of the heart. Adults may require an aortic valve replacement and be suitable for the non-surgical TAVI procedure.

  • The procedure can be performed under general or local anaesthetic.
  • A catheter (a hollow tube) is inserted into an artery either in the groin or under the collarbone.
  • The catheter is passed up through the aorta and into the heart, and is positioned within the opening of the aortic valve.
  • The valve is then carefully positioned and released over the existing native valve and this squashes the narrowed valve, to make room for the new valve.
  • The new valve then either expands by itself or is expanded using the balloon, depending on which type of valve is used.
  • The new valve once deployed starts to work immediately and the heart function improves with the new valve in place.
  • Most patients are out of bed the morning after the procedure and our aim is for them to be discharged 48-72 hours post procedure.

To find out more, or to book an appointment with a Consultant Cardiologist, please call: 020 8335 4646

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