Last week, The James Cook University Hospital performed ten specialist heart valve procedures in one day with seven patients returning home the same day and two the next morning.
TAVI is a minimally invasive heart valve replacement procedure that provides an alternative to open heart surgery for people with aortic stenosis, a disease particularly affecting people aged over 65.
James Cook is one of the pioneers in Europe of the streamlined TAVI pathway, Edwards BENCHMARK, which targets rapid discharge for patients while preserving good quality outcomes and safety.
Douglas Muir, consultant cardiologist at James Cook explained: “Our expert team has adopted internationally-leading TAVI best practices which allows us to treat patients safely and efficiently while improving our hospital capacity.
“If we can manage to continue to do ten cases a day we are making a difference to our local patients by getting their procedure done early, reducing the wait for them and reducing the anxiety to them and their family.
“And it frees up beds either for more TAVI or other work within cardiology or even other work within the hospital in a non-cardiac environment.”
These efforts to treat more patients are in line with recent NHS England Guidance calling for local health authorities to review their capacity and ability to offer TAVI due to the increased waiting times for cardiovascular procedures as a result of the pandemic.
TAVI does not require cutting the chest, which would increase recovery times and the length of stay in a hospital. Instead, the natural tissue heart valve is inserted through a tube (catheter), usually through a small incision in the groin, and guided using advanced imaging into the heart to replace the original valve.
“With so many valve disease patients currently on the waiting list it is really impressive that James Cook has prioritised TAVI so that more people can be treated promptly and return to a good quality of life,” said Wil Woan, executive director of patient charity Heart Valve Voice.
“Not only are they providing a life-saving procedure which improves quality of life, but by getting patients home in a day, they are also allowing more people to be treated for other heart conditions.”