LHSC first in Canada to perform new approach for aortic valve implantation


For Immediate Release

June 8 , 2016


(LONDON, Ontario) –The heart team at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is the first in Canada to perform a new surgical technique available to very select and complex patients whose arterial vessels are inaccessible due to calcified and narrowed arteries. The goal of the procedure is to restore normal blood flow through the heart and the rest of the body and reduce paravalvular leakage around the valve.

The transcaval approach to transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is performed through the femoral vein, near the groin, rather than the femoral artery or through a chest incision. “For some patients, the severity of their heart disease means there are limited treatment options available to them. This new catheter-based approach gives them an option they otherwise would not have,” says Dr. Rodrigo Bagur, interventional cardiologist, LHSC.

Performed in March, the transcaval TAVI approach allows access to the diseased aortic valve through the femoral vein by creating a temporary passage from the veins to the aorta. The collapsed replacement valve is moved through the vein and inferior vena cava and then crossed over into the abdominal aorta where it is guided to the aortic valve. Contrast-enhanced CT scans are taken before the procedure to assess patient’s suitability for this procedure and help guide the surgeon’s path through the patient’s anatomy.

William (Wallace) Snider, 78, from Sarnia Ontario, the first Canadian patient to undergo this new catheter-based technique had been suffering from shortness of breath and fatigue for a few years. A former truck driver, his heart condition impeded his quality of life and limited his ability to play with his grandchildren or woodwork.

“We could not have performed the traditional approaches through Wallace’s chest or peripheral vessels because his arteries were too calcified and narrowed and there was a concern that his lung capacity would have dangerously diminished due to his pre-existing lung condition,” adds Dr. Michael Chu, cardiac surgeon, LHSC.

Walking the day after his surgery, Snider spent Easter Weekend at the hospital with visits from his wife, daughter and granddaughter and was discharged shortly after the long weekend and just before his birthday. “I’m looking forward to a bit of travelling with my wife, Barbara. I feel lucky and I’m grateful for the excellent care I’ve received.”

About London Health Science Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 141 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 65 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca


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Marek Kubow
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 75155

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