Heart valve problems are common in the UK and affect almost one million people. Many problems occur through the narrowing of valves, such as aortic stenosis, one of the most common forms of heart disease. A new treatment developed specifically for aortic stenosis is the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI).
TAVI is a minimally invasive procedure whereby a new aortic valve is implanted into the heart via a catheter, avoiding the need for open surgery which can lead to more complications and a longer recovery period. Approximately 40,000 TAVI procedures have taken place with excellent results and minimal complications although patients are advised that as this is a new technique the long-term results are as yet unconfirmed.
Another minimally invasive procedure which has revolutionised the field of cardiac surgery is keyhole heart surgery. The most common type of heart surgery is a coronary bypass which involves an incision over the chest and the breastbone is divided allowing access to the heart. This results in a twelve week delay until the wound has healed, preventing normal activities. The new keyhole procedure allows for a much shorter recovery period, less scarring and better cosmetic results and great improvements in symptoms.
For a short video describing the keyhole heart surgery procedure from initial consultation to recovery, click here.