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UHNM chosen as UK-first for new heart valve procedure

Patients with heart conditions at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) are set to benefit from quicker and safer procedures thanks to a revolutionary new valve implant.

UHNM’s Cardiology Department has become the first in the UK to start using the new valve for patients needing a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI).

TAVI, a treatment for aortic stenosis (AS), involves implanting a new aortic valve into older and high-risk patients using a thin tube, called a catheter, which is put in through a small cut in the upper leg and passed up to the heart.

The new valve, which replaces the previous Abbott Navitor system, makes it easier for surgeons to see where the valve is positioned prior to its release.

Dr Karim Ratib, Interventional Cardiologist at UHNM said: “Transcatheter valve replacements are increasing in the UK, as they are safer than heart bypass surgeries which put the heart under a lot of strain and would result in a longer recovery time.

“We’re thrilled to be the first heart centre in the country to use this new valve, demonstrating our commitment to continual improvement.

“It’s great news for our patients as it is now easier and quicker for us to carry out the TAVI procedure. Being able to see the new valve more clearly, we can position it better in the heart, getting better results and reducing the risk of any complications.”

450 patients received the TAVI procedure at UHNM in 2023, the most in a single year since its introduction in 2009.

Only 35 heart centres in the UK offer this specialist intervention, with last year’s figures ranking UHNM in the top three performing centres.

The procedure takes around 45 minutes and is carried out under local anaesthetic.

Mark Eames, Territory Manager for Abbot Cardiovascular said: “One of the key challenges for the TAVI procedure is making sure the valve is in the right place and this new iteration includes a small but important additional feature that helps surgeons assess where the valve is when it’s about to be released. We prioritised UHNM as the first heart centre in the country to try the new upgraded valve because being an experienced, high-volume TAVI centre that acts as a proctor for others, staff are able to provide us with the right kind of feedback for the new valve.”

Rachel Stuttard, Aortic Valve Clinical Nurse Specialist at UHNM added: “This is fantastic news for the TAVI service here at UHNM and will improve the service that we already provide to our patients.”