A team doctors is offering a life-changing new procedure right here on the Coast

A team of Sunshine Coast heart specialists is providing a new key-hole procedure that has the potential to spare patients from the trauma of open-heart surgery.

Heart HQ is offering the procedure as an alternate way to manage a heart valve disease known as mitral regurgitation, which if left untreated can lead to heart failure. 

Structural heart specialists Dr Peter Larsen and Dr Stuart Butterly lead the heart valve team at Heart HQ and are the only credentialed operators for this type of surgery on the Coast. They say open-heart surgery was traditionally the only treatment for MR, but that has changed thanks to the new MitraClip procedure.

“Your heart has four valves, one of which is called the mitral valve, and this valve can leak, causing blood to flow backwards and the heart to work harder,” Dr Larsen says.

Dr Butterly adds: “The MitraClip is a new, far 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 medical conditions.

“The device is delivered to your heart via a very fine tube, which is inserted through a vein in your groin and will carefully pass the MitraClip up to your heart.”

Dr Butterly said the Heart HQ team attained accreditation because it operates at Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital and had successfully completed a specialised training course.

“SCUPH is the only cardiac hospital with a heart team to support these cases,” Dr Larsen says.

“Attaining this accreditation is a game-changer for people on the Sunshine Coast.”

Heart HQ operates weekly and the cost to the patient is covered by Medicare.

“Traditionally, patients would have to travel to Brisbane for this type of surgery and in some cases pay $50,000, but at Heart HQ we are a no-gap practice,” Dr Larsen says.

Noosa’s Hugh Ramsay was one of the first patients to receive the life-changing procedure after his GP detected abnormalities in his heart.

“If it wasn’t for this type of surgery, the only option I would have had would be to undergo open-heart surgery or bypass,” he said.

“At the time I was 71 years old and I had just finished chemotherapy, after having been diagnosed with cancer, so I wasn’t in a position where I would have been able to handle open-heart surgery.

“Since having the MitraClip put in, I feel so much more energised each day and I sleep better.

“It was also an added bonus not to have to travel to Brisbane for the procedure. I was literally out the next day and I really can’t thank the Heart HQ team enough.” 

MR is a condition that affects more than half a million Australians. Dr Butterly said it wasn’t uncommon for patients to have no symptoms despite having a severely leaking valve, which is why cases are continuing to grow.

“This year alone we saw approximately 150,000 Australians diagnosed with mitral regurgitation, a figure which is projected to increase to 200,000 cases by 2051,” he said.

Heart HQ was established on the Coast in 2013 and covers every sub-specialty of cardiology. Its cardiologists are supported by sonographers, cardiac physiologists, cardiac nurses and support staff. It has practices at Sippy Downs, Birtinya, Buderim, Tewantin and Nambour, as well as Caboolture and Gympie. 

Visit hearthq.com.au.

 

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