Doctors treating patient

Life-saving treatment tackling heart disease to launch in UK

A potentially life-saving procedure that counters mitral regurgitation in the heart is set to be launched across 20 NHS sites across the country.

This phenomenon occurs when the leaflets inside the heart cannot close properly causing ‘leaky’ valves – otherwise known as mitral regurgitation – which can lead to mitral valve disease.

This new cutting-edge treatment is designed to stop it though, Trans-catheter Edge-to-Edge Repair (TEER) is administered via keyhole surgery and takes approximately two hours to perform.

Doctors performing the procedure access the mitral valve by using a catheter that is guided through a vein in the patient’s groin, once there the doctors will attach one or two small implanted clips, which close off the leak - ultimately restoring regular blood flow.

Interventional Cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Director of the UK Valve for Life programme, Professor Dan Blackman, said: “It is hugely exciting that TEER is now available across the NHS.

“This decision comes after a funding battle which has taken more than 10 years since the initial NHS decision not to fund in 2011. It follows a two year evaluation to prove its effectiveness, and further delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic in more recent years. This is a life changing and life-saving procedure.”

Recent data has shown that the UK has been lagging behind many of its continental neighbours when it comes to the adoption of TEER – Germany perform 50x more procedures annually whilst Switzerland complete 30x more annually.

However, the UK is now set to introduce this state-of-the-art technique in 20 active centres, including:

  • Barts, Royal Brompton, Harefield, King’s College, and St Thomas’s Hospital in London
  • Bristol Royal Infirmary, John Radcliffe, Papworth, Royal Sussex, Queen Elizabeth, North Staffordshire Hospital, New Cross Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary, Freeman, James Cook University Hospital, and Wythenshawe across the rest of England.
  • University Hospital in Cardiff.
  • Royal Infirmary and Golden Jubilee in Scotland.
  • Royal Victoria Hospital in Northern Ireland.

Those affected by mitral valve disease and mitral regurgitation are encouraged to seek assistance from their local cardiology team if they want to be referred for this procedure.

More coverage on the latest innovations being rolled out to battle heart problems is available here.

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