Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care


Life-changing heart treatment begins on the Sunshine Coast

Jun 19, 2019

Sunshine Coast residents no longer need to travel beyond the coast to receive life-changing heart treatment, with Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) now offered at Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital (SCUPH).

A local 83-year-old woman has become the first patient to undergo the new minimally-invasive procedure at SCUPH. The procedure, which takes under an hour, allows surgeons to insert and implant an aortic valve into the heart using a catheter, which is inserted through a small incision in the groin. 

Interventional Cardiologist, Dr Peter Larsen said: “It is key hole surgery using the latest technology, performed by our Heart Team. The surgery allows patients to avoid the need for lengthy operations and the prolonged stay in hospital afterwards.” 

Dr Larsen’s patient, Mrs Norma Wilson had been experiencing severe aortic stenosis, which is the narrowing of the aortic valve opening, causing severe breathlessness. Due to her age she was considered a high risk for surgery. 

“Instead she was brought to the cardiac catheter operating room and we were able to perform a TAVI, and she went home the next day. It is an amazing achievement for an 83-year-old to go home the next day after heart valve surgery,” Dr Larsen said. 

Over the last 18 months, the hospital has been working to develop a new ‘Heart Team’ to deliver the new procedure made up of interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons, an anaesthesiologist, geriatrician, TAVI coordinator and radiologists.

The Heart Team has undergone rigorous training and accreditation, to ensure local patients would receive optimal treatment when undergoing TAVI. 

The availability of the treatment represents a major win for Sunshine Coast patients who were previously required to travel to Brisbane or interstate for treatment, often with significant out-of-pocket expense. 

It is now expected that 50 patients will undergo TAVI at SCUPH in the first year. 

Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital CEO, Oliver Steele said: "It is quite ground breaking for the region, that patients can get this treatment close to home rather than having to travel more than an hour."

Life-changing heart treatment begins on the Sunshine Coast