16 May 2024

Non-surgical option for heart valve repair now on the table in Wollongong

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Group of hospital staff.

Dr Ed Danson (third from right) and his team, who are now using a mitral valve clip on heart patients. Photo: Supplied.

A non-surgical heart valve repair procedure now being performed in Wollongong saves ill patients from travelling to Sydney and offers a faster recovery time.

Wollongong Private Hospital interventional cardiologist Dr Ed Danson recently started using a mitral valve clip, which repairs faulty heart valves without the need for open heart surgery.

The non-surgical treatment method involves inserting a small metal clip into the heart, via a vein in the leg, to help the heart function properly.

Dr Danson said the treatment allowed patients having transcatheter procedures to recover more quickly, as it was less invasive.

“There is also often much less time in hospital and sometimes less pain in the immediate aftermath,” he said.

“Importantly, this treatment is also available to some patients who are just unable to have open heart surgery because of the risk to their life.”

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Dr Danson said the potential benefits for local patients being able to access the treatment in Wollongong were a lot more significant than just the reduced travel and ability to recover close to their support network.

“There are numerous studies now that show very convincingly much better outcomes for patients when their care is less fragmented, where everything from planning the procedure, performing it, recovery and follow-up is all delivered by the same team at the same location,” he said.

“These treatments often require protracted planning before they are offered, involving several scans, detailed analysis and multidisciplinary discussion.

“It just isn’t practical or realistic to ask patients, many of whom are older or frailer, to travel large distances for repeated visits into our metropolitan areas.

“However, the reality is transcatheter technologies need to be delivered at hospitals with all the relevant infrastructure and so sites like Wollongong Private Hospital are essential.

“Wollongong has some of the best cardiac surgeons in the country who work very symbiotically with a wonderfully functional heart team and we also have all the latest and most advanced technology at our disposal.”

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