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Guy’s and St Thomas’ pioneers new keyhole heart surgery

A team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital has become the first in the UK, and one of the first in the world, to offer a kind of heart surgery without having to cut open the patient.

The surgery is for an aortic arch aneurysm, which is when a major blood vessel coming from the heart has a bulge in between the heart and the chest, and it is too risky to perform open heart surgery. But without treatment, the aneurysm can expand and eventually rupture – possibly killing the patient.

Usually the procedure is done by cutting open the patient’s neck to access certain blood vessels, while also removing the aneurysm via keyhole surgery through the groin.

Only two centres in the UK – Guy’s and St Thomas’ and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust – offer the current complex procedure. Now Guy’s and St Thomas’ can offer the operation with keyhole surgery alone.

Dr Madhusudan Puchakayala, consultant cardiac and vascular anaesthetist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “This new procedure avoids open heart surgery and its associated risks, as well as reducing a stay on the intensive care unit and any further complications. It also allows for a faster recovery time, which helps patients return to their normal daily life.”

Jose Rodrigues, 57, was the first person to undergo this procedure at St Thomas’ Hospital at the end of July.

South London-based Jose said: “I’m really glad to have been able to take advantage of this new type of surgery, and to be the first person in the UK to have it. I’m still recovering, but already feel better after my operation.”

Said Abisi, consultant vascular and endovascular surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’, added: “This new method will have real benefits for patients such as Jose, and hopefully many others in the future.”


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