New heart surgery offers quicker recovery

Thursday, 13 July 2017.

An innovative and minimally-invasive heart surgery has cut recovery time for people in Geelong and western Victoria.
Barwon Health is Victoria’s only regional health service to offer the TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation) procedure, which is reserved for cases where a standard surgery has greater risks.
Clinically fragile patients requiring aortic valve surgery can have the TAVI operation without stopping the heart from pumping, reducing the impact on their body.
The surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and allows patients to recover without intensive care, going home after an average of three days instead of the typical eight-day recovery and two-week rehabilitation period following an open-heart bypass surgery.
Cardiology Director Chin Hiew said Barwon Health introduced the procedure in April 2015 and now does the surgery twice a month, working collaboratively with a cardiac surgeon.
“Patients who require aortic valve surgery previously needed an open-heart bypass surgery, but TAVI can implant a new pre-mounted valve via a catheter through a small insertion in the groin or chest,” he said.
“For the community of Geelong and south-west Victoria, this is exciting news because such a procedure was only available in Melbourne.
“We have introduced a multi-disciplinary team to assess patients referred with systematic severe aortic stenosis, looking at how they will recover, to make the best recommendation for the patient.”
The TAVI surgery is provided free of charge to public or privately-insured patients and is suitable for people aged over 80 or those with health issues that could cause complications after heart surgery.

Traditional Owners

We, Barwon Health, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land, the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to the Elders both past and present.