Birmingham & Black Country

Wolverhampton hospital is 'first' in dual heart operation procedure

Image caption Mr Beirne hopes to live a 'fair quality of life' following the two operations

Almost 18-months ago, 81-year-old Henry Beirne underwent two lifesaving heart operations.

He was too ill to undergo normal open heart surgery because any changes in his blood pressure could have proven to be fatal.

However, surgeons at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton implanted an aortic valve in Mr Beirne's heart, but at the same time repaired an aneurysm through his arteries.

New Cross Hospital claims it is the first to carry out the dual operation.

Consider other conditions

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a relatively new, but established procedure that treats a condition known as aortic stenosis.

This is when the main heart valve, the aortic, does not open fully and blood flow is restricted.

The operation, which involves a small cut in the patient's groin or chest through which a new valve is fitted, is less of a risk than open heart surgery.

Mr Beirne, who is about to begin a rehabilitation programme to increase his amount of exercise, had already had a heart bypass, a stroke and kidney failure.

He now plans return to the gym, saying: "I'm very impressed. I'm alive - and that's the most important thing."

Dr Saib Khogali, cardiologist at New Cross Hospital, said: "If a patient does have other conditions, you need to consider those before you do the TAVI."

Over the past 12 months, the hospital has been faced three cases of combined TAVI and EVAR [Endovascular aneurysm repair], which according to Dr Khogali had "excellent results".

'Excellent results'

He said: "You can't treat one without the other. If you treat the valve then you can increase the risk of rupture of the aortic aneurism, and you can't treat the aortic aneurism without treating the valve as risks are too high."

Image caption Dr Khogali believes team work has helped to develop the procedure

Following careful planning, the doctors went in through arteries in Mr Bierne's thighs and up to his heart.

Whilst one placed a man-made valve inside his existing valve, the other placed a tube inside his aorta to cure the bulge in the wall.

Dr Khogali claims no-one had done the combination of procedures before and has spoken about it at national and international meetings.

He added: "We're learning about these patients who were previously not treated because they're high risk.

"Prior to 2008 [due to advances in medicine and team work], we would not have been able to offer Henry or any other patient anything."

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