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New heart procedure transforms lives

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is the first in the UK to perform an innovative procedure which repairs leaking heart valves without the need for invasive surgery. 

ARTO deviceThe pioneering technique uses equipment known as an Arto device to pull a stitch across a leaking mitral valve and then tightens it to stop the leak (see image).

Around one in 50 adults in Britain is thought to have mitral regurgitation. This is when the mitral valve (which controls blood flow through the upper and lower left chambers of the heart) fails to close properly. As a result, blood flows backwards through the valve, compromising the function of the heart. The condition can cause breathlessness, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain and, if left untreated, can lead to heart failure and death.  

Professor Simon Redwood, Consultant Cardiologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Professor of Interventional Cardiology at King’s College London, performed the new technique for the first time in the UK as part of the international MAVERIC (MitrAl ValvE RepaIr Clinical) trial. 

Olasumbo Yates became the first patient in the UK to have the procedure in September 2016 after experiencing symptoms including breathlessness and extreme tiredness. 

Professor Redwood explains: 

It is too early to say if the Arto procedure is better than other treatments for mitral regurgitation but it is very safe and easy to do. 
Patients are usually able to go home within a couple of days of having the procedure and they can feel the benefits straightaway. It is important to understand more about the long-term benefits of the device which should become clearer when more patients are treated with it. So far nearly 50 patients have had the procedure worldwide and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is one of only two centres in the UK carrying out the treatment. Everyone’s anatomy is different so not all treatments are suitable for patients, which is why it is beneficial to have more options to offer them. 

The King’s Health Partners Cardiovascular Clinical Academic Group provides extensive heart services for patients in south east London and Kent, hosts a British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, and delivers outstanding training for clinicians and researchers.