Over half a million Australians are currently living with a type of heart valve disease (HVD) known as mitral regurgitation (MR) which, if left untreated, can lead to heart failure. , but the Heart of the Sunshine Coast Headquarters now provide a new ‘keyhole procedure that can be performed near you.
Led by Heart HQ structural heart specialists Dr Peter Larsen and Dr Stuart Butterly, the Heart HQ team now operates weekly and explains that traditionally open heart surgery was the only treatment for MRI. However, in a first for the Sunshine Coast, Heart HQ offers another way to manage the disease.
âYour heart has four valves, one of which is called the mitral valve, and that valve can leak, causing blood to flow back and the heart to work harder,â said Dr. Larsen.
“The MitraClip is a new, much less invasive procedure that is an option for patients who may not be good candidates for open heart surgery, for example our elderly patients or those with pre-existing health conditions,” Dr Butterly said.
“The device is delivered to your heart via a very thin tube, which is inserted into a vein in your groin and will carefully pass the MitraClip to your heart.”
Noosa resident Hugh Ramsay was one of the first patients to receive the life-changing procedure, after his general practitioner (GP) detected abnormalities in his heart.
“If it hadn’t been for this type of surgery, the only option I would have had would have been to have open heart bypass surgery,” Ramsay said.
âAt the time, I was 71 and had just finished chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer, so I wasn’t in a position where I could have handled open heart surgery.
âSince the MitraClip is installed, I feel so much more energetic every day and I sleep better. “
âIt was also an added bonus not having to travel to Brisbane for the procedure. I was literally out the next day and cannot thank the Heart HQ team enough.
Dr Butterly said it’s not uncommon to have no symptoms despite a severely leaking valve, which is why MRI cases continue to grow.
“This year alone, we have seen around 150,000 Australians diagnosed with mitral regurgitation, a figure that is expected to increase to 200,000 cases by 2051,” said Dr Butterly.
Dr Larsen and Dr Butterly lead the heart valve team at Heart’s headquarters, and together are the only operators accredited on the Sunshine Coast for this type of surgery, which means the cost to the patient is covered by Medicare. .
âObtaining this accreditation is a game changer for the people of the Sunshine Coast,â said Dr. Larsen.
“Traditionally, patients had to travel to Brisbane for this type of surgery and in some cases pay $ 50,000, but at Heart HQ we are a seamless practice.”
Dr Butterly said the Heart HQ team were able to get accreditation because they only operate at the area heart hospital, the Sunshine Coast University private hospital, and the team followed up with successfully complete a specialized training course.
âSCUPH is the only heart hospital with a cardiac team to manage these cases,â said Dr Larsen.