A specialist nurse has highlighted the potential of a new heart procedure to improve patient experience, after her unit was named as an international flagship site for the operation.
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is a minimally invasive heart valve replacement procedure that provides an alternative to open heart surgery for higher risk patients.
“The main aim of TAVI is to get people back home to enjoy a good quality of life”
James Cook University Hospital has been named as an international flagship site for the specialist heart procedure that replaces narrowed heart valves without the need for open heart surgery.
The Middlesbrough hospital is one of only two in the country – and one of only a handful in Europe – to be awarded Benchmark status by the Centre for Heart Valve Innovation in Vancouver, Canada.
Following a visit to James Cook’s heart unit, representatives from the centre reported they were “at a loss to offer any advice or additional insight” to further improve the hospital’s TAVI programme.
The unit’s team received praise for excellent outcomes, highly optimised processes of care, careful scrutiny of patient safety and outstanding leadership.
As a result, they were invited to become a Benchmark partner, which will see them share their skills and knowledge with other cardiothoracic teams.
Consultant cardiologist Douglas Muir said: “We have a team-based approach here from admission to recovery with meetings at the beginning of each day to discuss any technical aspects of a case.
“You can always improve of course, but this is affirmation that we are on the right lines and that all the changes we are making, to ensure the procedure is safe but also efficient, make sense and ultimately help our patients.”
Heart unit named as international flagship site
Source: South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, first introduced TAVI in 2009 and has since treated more than 700 people.
Over the last 10 years care has advanced to a point where the majority of patients can now go home the day after their procedure – selected patients may even be allowed home on the same day.
“The Vancouver team told us that they were not aware of any other hospital in the world that had a protocol for day case TAVI,” noted consultant cardiologist Paul Williams.
TAVI specialist nurse Gemma McCalmont added: “The main aim of TAVI is to get people back home to enjoy a good quality of life.
“And, if we can do that quickly and safely, then we are making a real difference for our patients,” she said.
The heart unit has also been designated as a European Centre of Excellence for the Portico Valve – one of the artificial heart valve types used by the TAVI team.