Gleneagles JPMC performs 1st heart valve replacement procedure

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GLENEAGLES JPMC has successfully performed Borneo’s first heart valve replacement procedure or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

The private specialist hospital said yesterday the procedure was recently carried out by Dr Paul Chiam, a visiting consultant cardiologist from Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Dr Sofian Dato Paduka Dr Hj Johar, a local consultant cardiologist.

With the availability of TAVI in the country, Dr Sofian said suitable patients will no longer have to travel abroad to undergo treatment for severe aortic stenosis — a common heart disease problem in Brunei.

“This development is not only beneficial for patients in the sultanate, but also for patients in neighbouring countries and the region who now have the option of being referred to our centre for TAVI,” Gleneagles JPMC Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Tay was quoted as saying in the press statement.

TAVI is a new treatment for severe aortic stenosis, a condition involving the narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart and restricts blood flow through the valve.

Aortic stenosis causes blood supply problems to the body and symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain and fatigue. Left untreated, aortic stenosis can lead to heart failure, severe infection and even sudden death.

According to studies, the average survival rate from the onset of symptoms is 63 per cent at two years and 20 per cent at five years. The prognosis is worse for much severe patients.

The normal treatment for aortic stenosis is open heart surgery, where the aortic valve is replaced with either a mechanical or biological valve. The recovery period in hospital can range from a week to 10 days in cases without complications.

However, Gleneagles JPMC said TAVI is a good option for elderly patients or those at high risk for surgery.

During the procedure on September 16, a small incision was made in the groin at the site of the main blood vessel in the leg. A catheter containing the new replacement valve was then passed up the aorta and across the diseased aortic valve.

Gleneagles JPMC said the replacement valve opened up and worked immediately; adding that the recovery time for TAVI is considerably shorter than conventional surgery.

About 7,000 people are estimated to be suffering with some form of heart disease in Brunei.

Official statistics showed that 364 people died from heart disease last year. It remains the second leading cause of death behind cancer.

The Brunei Times