Surgery team

St Bartholomew’s become first in UK to use innovative new implant

A team of clinicians based out of St Bartholomew’s Hospital have potentially revolutionised healthcare, by becoming the first in the UK to use an implant to treat aortic regurgitation.

Aortic regurgitation is when blood doesn’t flow properly out of the heart and starts to leak backwards, causing the heart to work harder, subsequently weakening it and causing heart failure. It’s a condition that affects approximately one in 20 people.

Until now surgery was the only viable treatment option, but for many potential patients it is deemed too high-risk.

Another type of valve implant has been offered previously however it wasn’t a perfect solution, whereas this new procedure is both non-invasive and quicker, taking less than an hour to implement.

Professor Andreas Baumbach, who led the team at St. Bartholomew’s said: “We have been waiting a long time for this. Previously we would consider using other valves as a treatment. Now, we have a dedicated device to cure the condition.

“We are the first group outside of the research group to do the procedure, and the only centre in the UK who can offer it. So far, we have seen perfect results with a 100% success rate, – there’s been nothing like it before.

“It is great that we can make this treatment available at St. Bartholomew’s, and give new hope to our patients.”

The new implant was first pioneered in Germany, with all 45 patients reporting positive results. Barts Health Centre are the only cardiac unit in the UK to offer this new innovation and are seeing similarly positive results.

In May, Ronald, 86, a former Royal Mail employee, became the first person in the UK to get the new implant. He said: “As far as I’m concerned, it was my last chance. I have a lovely family who wanted me around for a bit longer, and I wanted more time with them which is why I went for it. If I live another year, two, three or even more then it’s a bonus.

“My sleeping has improved, my brain is sharper, and my breathing is much better. I can also feel my physical strength coming back.

“I would recommend the implant to anybody in a similar position to myself. Nobody rushes into an operation, but it has completely transformed my life.”

More information about the new implant is available here.

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