New cardiac procedure now available at Kelowna General Hospital

An 89-year-old man suffering from heart failure was able to avoid a trip to the Lower Mainland because a new medical procedure is now being performed at Kelowna General Hospital.

According to Interior Health, Nick Stobbart suffered from a bad aortic valve that landed him in hospital twice.

In early October, Stobbart was one of the first patients in Interior Health to undergo a transcatheter aortic valve implantation, or TAVI, procedure.

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The procedure is for patients who are not candidates for open-heart surgery because of advanced age, frailty or other high risks.

It involves inserting a catheter through an artery in the groin to deliver an artificial valve inside the existing aortic valve.

The procedure improves a patient’s quality of life in addition to increasing life expectancy, said Dr. Steven Hodge, the program’s director.

“The whole procedure was seamless,” Stobbart said in a news release. “I was impressed with all of the team at the cardiac unit. My pulse now has a nice, solid thump.”

Interior Health is hoping to carry out about 30 procedures this year.

“Having TAVI procedures available in the Interior Health region means people have more access to quality care close to home,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news release.

More than 22 patients have undergone the procedure as of mid-January.

“TAVI has proven an effective treatment for patients who otherwise would have limited options available to them,” said Dr. Guy Fradet, medical director of the cardiac program at Interior Health.

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