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First Keyhole Heart Valve Surgery Scheduled in Britain

Heart surgeons are getting ready for the first heart valve replacement operation in Britain using key hole technique. //

The operation is scheduled for Tuesday and will be performed by Jan Kovac and a team of cardiologists. The surgery is termed as percutaneous aortic valve replacement. This technique called the key hole technique was first performed in France.

The novelty of this surgery is that it avoids open-heart surgery. During the one-hour surgery the new valve will be introduced into a blood vessel running up from the groin to the heart through a catheter.

Dr Kovac, consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital, said: “In the past, patients had to endure open-heart surgery and would have been in hospital for at least a week after their operation. This new catheter treatment is much quicker and in most cases patients will be back home within a few days. This technique is the biggest invention in cardiology over the last 30 years.

“Many patients in the future will be able to have heart valves replaced percutaneously [through the skin] in a catheter lab rather than having to endure open-heart surgery.”

The work of heart surgeons is made easy by coronary angioplasties (procedures to open the coronary arteries) and by the use of statins, which control heart disease.

Open-heart valve surgeries are second-commonest heart operations following bypasses.

The keyhole technique is used only on patients who are unsuitable for open-heart surgery as they are too old to survive it or have other diseases that increase the risk.

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