NHS chief hails heart surgery first

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THE medical director of NHS Lothian has welcomed news that the Capital is to host Scotland’s first centre for a specialist heart procedure.

It was announced this week that transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) operations are to be carried out at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

If a patient is either not well enough for open heart surgery, or their heart and vessels are not suitable for aortic valve replacement, TAVI may be offered as an alternative treatment option.

The procedure is less invasive, as a replacement valve is passed through a hole in the groin and advanced up to the ascending aorta of the patient.

Dr David Farquharson said he was “delighted” with the news, adding: “It means that we will be able to provide life-changing surgery, within the royal infirmary, to scores of patients, who may otherwise have been unable to undergo a conventional open-heart operation.

“By replacing a heart valve in this way it will reduce the associated risks of the traditional surgery and boost quality of life for scores of patients from all over Scotland.”