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Pioneering cardiac surgery improves heart function

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Surgeons using a form of “cardiac sewing” have carried out a pioneering operation which improves the function of failing hearts for the first time in the UK.

Scar tissue was removed and the size of the heart reduced during the procedure at London’s King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust, helping the heart pump more efficiently.

Heart failure is commonly caused by blockage of arteries that feed the organ, resulting in a heart attack. This leads to heart muscle dying and being replaced by scar tissue, which does not beat. As the hard scar tissue stretches, it enlarges the chambers of the heart, meaning the organ has to pump out more blood with each heartbeat.

This leaves heart failure patients breathless even during simple daily activities such as climbing the stairs, as their weakened heart struggles to pump blood around the body.

Surgeons pierced two sections of heart muscle using a wire with anchors at both ends, “remodelling” the heart as they tightened the wires. This effectively removed the scar tissue and reduced the size of one of the heart’s chambers by 25%.

The patient - Sevket Gocer, 58, from Bromley, south-east London - has seen his heart function improve “significantly” since the operation, which is performed while the heart is still beating.

The procedure is a less invasive method than a similar operation which used to be carried out by opening up the chest and stopping the heart - the high risk of this operation saw it fall out of medical practice.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • michael stone

    This could be very good news indeed, if it 'pans out'.

    But I'm not quite sure exactly what 'significantly' indicates re the measure of functional improvement.

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