Caption left to right: Manu Sekhar, Wendy Frazer, Associate Professor Martin Ng, Sam McKinlay, Shayna Waaka

One hundred frail and elderly patients with calcific aortic stenosis have been given a new lease on life with a minimally invasive heart procedure being performed at Macquarie University Hospital.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation, or TAVI, is a relatively new procedure in Australia. However, Macquarie University Hospital surgeons have now performed 100 of these, giving them significant experience in this complex procedure.

“This is a pioneering program for New South Wales and for Australia, for people with a life-threatening condition who would otherwise not have a treatment option,” said Associate Professor Martin Ng, interventional cardiologist who was instrumental in setting up the TAVI program at the Hospital.

“It’s really revolutionary in terms of the quality of life improvements it can offer, and the number of lives it can save. These patients come to us with such shortness of breath that they can’t go about simple daily tasks. Their quality of life is very poor.”

Associate Professor Ng performs the TAVI procedures at Macquarie University Hospital along with Professor Michael Wilson, and Macquarie University Hospital remains the only private hospital in Australia with a full TAVI program. The team’s achievement of 100 procedures demonstrates that TAVI is now a well-established program at Macquarie, made possible through significant investment by the Hospital.

The procedure is complex and requires extensive resources in technology and staff to ensure good outcomes. Indeed, Macquarie established its program on the foundations of a comprehensive service, with its the Structural Heart Teams offering extremely detailed review and assessment, and a full MDT meeting every two weeks to discuss each patient in-depth.

All tests and procedures are available to the patient ‘under one roof’ and the care is streamlined and coordinated by a dedicated. Clinical Nurse Manager and Clinical Nurse Consultant.

“We arrange everything needed for their initial assessment on the one day at the heart care centre,” said Clinical Nurse Manager Wendy Fraser. “Then, all the screening tests required at the hospital are again arranged for them on a single day. We really have refined the way we work as a TAVI team, and things now run like clockwork.

“I think our 100th procedure is a real milestone for us.”

Associate Professor Ng says that the link between the number of TAVI procedures performed and patient outcomes is clear.

“Data from the STS – the Society of Thoracic Surgeons – and the American College of Cardiology on transcatheter valve therapy in the US clearly demonstrates that the greater a surgeon’s experience with TAVI, the better the patient outcomes,” said Associate Professor Ng.

“With Macquarie University Hospital having completed 100 TAVI procedures and with our data showing excellent patient outcomes, the Hospital has clearly become a centre of excellence in TAVI in Australia.”

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