Australia’s leading cardiologists have joined forces to raise awareness about a deadly heart condition,
launching a nationwide campaign calling for the rollout of a non-invasive procedure that scraps the need
for open heart surgery for the majority of patients.
One in eight older Australians is diagnosed with Aortic Stenosis (AS), with up to 50 per cent of people dying
within two years of diagnosis if left untreated.
Treatment has traditionally been open heart surgery – an invasive and risky procedure but now,
cardiologists want the Federal Government to implement change so that more patients can access keyhole
surgery to replace a faulty valve.
Sydney Heart Centre’s Professor Martin Ng from Macquarie University Hospital said the procedure known
as TAVI had revolutionised the treatment of AS.
“The Hope for Hearts campaign is critical to increasing awareness and elderly patients have a right to the
best quality of life. It would be great to see TAVI made more easily accessible to our heart patients with a
national reimbursement strategy.”
77-year old Mychael McLoughlin underwent the surgery last year, as a high-risk patient.
“I had the procedure on the Friday, was sent home on the Sunday and could drive a car by the following
Wednesday, which is just incredible,” he said.
“Before the surgery I was flat out walking 25 metres, but after the procedure it wasn’t long before I could
do 200 metres, then 400 and that’s continuing to improve.”
Current Australian guidelines mean TAVI is only an option for high-risk patients and those over 80.
As part of the campaign cardiologists are calling on the Federal Government to change national guidelines
so that TAVI can be offered to all patients.
Professor Dion Stub, a surgeon at the Alfred and Cabrini Hospitals in Victoria said: “The current guidelines
as they stand are not keeping up with current practice. Now there is a decade of proven data to support
TAVI as an alternative treatment.”