Patients are reaping the rewards after local cardiologists carried out their 500th procedure to treat those suffering from heart problems.
Staff at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC), based at Basildon Hospital, have been replacing diseased and restricted heart valves for five years for patients who are unable to have conventional open-heart surgery.
The procedure, known as transcatheter aortic implantation (TAVI), helps patients to recover from a thickening of the valve that controls the flow of blood from your heart to the rest of the body.
TAVI involves inserting a new aortic heart valve via a blood vessel in the leg, which is guided towards the beating heart by the cardiologist where they can then replace the diseased valve.
Dr Christopher Cook, one of the cardiologists to carry out the 500th TAVI procedure, said: “Some of our patients are not able to have conventional open-heart surgery, meaning TAVI is the best option to alleviate their symptoms and, most importantly, enjoy a high quality of life. It can be done under local anaesthetic and does not need a large cut in the chest, allowing them to recover much more quickly and return to normal activity.
“I’m very proud to have been a part of the team at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre who have helped so many people in Essex and the east of England.”
A patient who benfitted from TAVI is Graham Francis, 82, from Bishop's Stortford. At a regular check-up Graham was told that his heart valve was getting worse, and later reported reported occasionally feeling breathless.
Graham said: “I was concerned about my symptoms and quite apprehensive about going into hospital.
“The doctors gave me honest, clear advice, and said that TAVI was my best option. The procedure itself was superb. I immediately felt better and was out of hospital after only three days.
“I’m now walking more, playing golf again, and even planning to visit my son in Spain. My life is back to normal.”
Graham has also offered to help the staff at the Essex CTC by reassuring other patients before they are treated with TAVI.