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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Wollongong hospital announces new cardiac procedure

People with heart disease in and around the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions now have access to a new, minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment option close to home, with Wollongong Private Hospital recently introducing the potentially life-saving treatment, previously only available in Sydney.

Interventional cardiologist, Dr Ed Danson, has recently started performing mitral valve repairs using a Mitral Valve Clip, repairing faulty heart valves without the need for open heart surgery. The non-surgical treatment method involves inserting a small metal clip into the heart, via a vein in the leg, to help the heart function properly.

“This treatment option allows patients having transcatheter procedures to recover more quickly, given its minimally invasive nature. There is also often much less time in hospital and sometimes less pain in the immediate aftermath,” Dr Danson said.

“Importantly, this treatment is also available to some patients who are just unable to have open heart surgery because of the risk to their life.”

Dr Danson said the potential benefits for local patients being able to access the treatment in Wollongong are a lot more significant than just the reduced travel and ability to recover close to their support network.   

“There are numerous studies now that show very convincingly much better outcomes for patients when their care is less fragmented, where everything from planning the procedure, performing it, recovery and follow up is all delivered by the same team at the same location,” he said.

“These treatments often require protracted planning before they are offered involving several scans, detailed analysis and multidisciplinary discussion. It just isn’t practical or realistic to ask patients, many of whom are older or frailer, to travel large distances for repeated visits into our metropolitan areas.

“However, the reality is transcatheter technologies need to be delivered at hospitals with all the relevant infrastructure and so sites like Wollongong Private Hospital are essential. Wollongong has some of the best cardiac surgeons in the country who work very symbiotically with a wonderfully functional “Heart Team”. We also have all the latest and most advanced technology at our disposal.”

Wollongong Private Hospital Acting CEO, Malcolm Passmore said the introduction of the procedure at Wollongong Private Hospital complements the already comprehensive range of heart services it provides to Illawarra and Shoalhaven residents, including the hospital’s successful public/private cardiothoracic service.

“We’re proud to offer the people of the Illawarra region quality cardiac care close to home.”

The announcement comes during Heart Week, Australia’s national heart health awareness week.

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