Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg welcomes first TAVI procedure

Posted on 24 February 2021

Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg is pleased to confirm that the first transcatheter aortic valve implantation took place in their Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory on Friday, 19 February. This is a first for the hospital and marks an important development in the alternative for care within the cardiac unit.

A transcatheter aortic valve implantation (or TAVI) is performed on patients who may have a damaged aortic value and are not good candidates for more traditional open heart surgery valve replacements.

The team participating in the landmark surgery on Friday included Dr Peter van Wyk (performed surgery and teaching role), Dr Sanjay Maharaj (assisting), Dr Y Govender (observer) and P Salikram (scrub sister and Unit Manager of Cath lab).

Traditional open thoracic surgery demands an open incision into the chest cavity, with the surgeon accessing the area through the sternum and rib cage. With the TAVI procedure, a small incision is made in the femoral artery near the thigh, allowing the surgeon to reach the valve with the aid of guide wires and a catheter.

According to Dr Sanjay Maharaj, Cardiologist at Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg, the benefits offered to TAVI patients include a quicker recovery due to the minimally invasive nature of the procedure. Traditional open heart surgery would require a longer hospital admission for recovery. The other obvious benefit to any such patient would be the improved cardiac functioning and related life expectancy post surgery, where medication is no longer able to make a significant impact on their health. The TAVI is also known to have a lower complication rate and involves a shorter procedure time in comparison to traditional surgery.

A benefit for patients undergoing this surgery is that it does not involve full anaesthesia, but makes use of sedation within the Cath Lab environment.

Tabitha Lolliot, Hospital General Manager of Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg believes that this is a remarkable landmark in the hospital’s cardiac history. “We pride ourselves on attracting associated specialists with unique skills and expertise. Our patients rely on these expertise and we welcome the addition of yet another key service within our Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory.”

While there are risks associated with any surgery, Dr Maharaj believes that the TAVI procedure is a proven alternative for treatment of aortic stenosis in patients with high surgical risk.

Published in Innovation