New theatre, new milestone for Greenslopes Private Hospital

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Greenslopes Private Hospital’s new $3 million hybrid theatre has been christened with a milestone heart procedure using a technique that gives patients hope for longer life.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Christopher Smith and Interventional Cardiologist Dr Karl Poon led the cardiac team’s 250th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI). 

The new facility – part of a $72 million expansion at the Brisbane hospital – was specifically designed for vascular surgeons and cardiology, being custom built as a combination cardiac cath lab and an operating theatre. 

It allows the team to progress a routine case into a more complex one during the same operation, in the same theatre. 

“The hybrid theatre is larger than a usual cath lab and allows for more specialised equipment,” said Emma Neylan, Greenslopes Private Hospital’s Nurse Unit Manager of cardiac suites.

“For example, we can abort a strict cath lab procedure and progress to a bypass operation without needing to switch theatres or have the patient return for surgery on another day. 

“It’s a real drawcard for surgeons because of that flexibility, and it allows for a better workflow with anaesthetics, vascular assistants, diagnostic cardiologists and a larger nursing and radiographer team.” 

Dr Smith helped to establish the TAVI program at Queensland’s largest private hospital three years ago – and was impressed by how quickly the 250 cases milestone was reached.

“I think it’s a big deal – I’ve been a cardiac surgeon for 20 years and I’ve seen quite a few new techniques come and go, and I don’t always take on everything new,” he said.

“But when I first saw TAVI, I thought it was really the way of the future.” 

The procedure is a minimally-invasive alternative to open-heart surgery for patients suffering from severe narrowing of the aortic valve, which is replaced via a catheter put through the femoral artery in the groin. 

“TAVI is not for everyone but is an important part of the treatment modalities that we have available for severe aortic stenosis,” Dr Smith said. 

“Initially it was used for patients who weren’t suitable for surgery and were otherwise destined for palliative care. But the indications have now progressed and in coming years I am sure we will be offering TAVI to more and more patients.” 

Dr Smith said the TAVI program at Greenslopes represented a new era in cardiac services, featuring a specific ‘heart team’ approach. 

“It’s a collaboration of the two specialities – interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery. 

“It’s a really happy team and everyone pulls together to make sure we have the same goal, and that’s to provide the best outcome for the patient,” Dr Smith said. 

Read more: Mitral clip opens up cardiac care options

Read more: $72m plan to meet growing demand at Greenslopes

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