New technology for Saskatchewan heart patients

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TAVI Helps Patients not Eligible for Open-Heart Surgery

Patients too fragile for open-heart surgery can now get an aortic valve replaced in Saskatchewan. In the procedure, a cardiologist inserts a replacement valve into the heart via an artery in about half the time of an open-heart operation and without using general anesthetics.

Officially launched today, the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) program provides support and treatment close to home for patients whose aortic valve no longer opens properly so blood can be pumped into the arteries. Life expectancy without a valve replacement is about two years.

The procedures are conducted at Regina General Hospital, with teams in Regina and Saskatoon providing support to patients before and after the procedure. Previously, patients had to travel to B.C. or Alberta for the procedure.

“Our government is pleased to provide $700,000 in annual funding so patients who are not candidates for open-heart surgery are able to receive an alternative procedure here in Saskatchewan,” Regina Pasqua MLA Muhammad Fiaz said on behalf of Health Minister Jim Reiter. “Making this available closer to home has a profound effect on both the length and the quality of patients’ lives.”

The program will allow 25 patients to receive the TAVI procedure each year. Since the first procedures were performed on February 28, 2017, there have been 11 patients who received the treatment in Saskatchewan.

“It is so important this procedure is available to patients here in the province,” Regina cardiologist Dr. Jeff Booker said. “A lot of work has gone into setting up the program and it’s been amazing working together and watching the team grow.”

“Our teams in both cities have shown tremendous passion and hard work, working together to transform the way we serve our patients,” Saskatoon cardiologist Dr. Rashpal Basran said. “I’m excited for all the future patients and families and the province of Saskatchewan.”

“This makes an incredible difference for our patients,” TAVI Program Co-ordinator Lucia Parsons said. “They are able to receive care sooner, and travel is greatly reduced. The expressions of gratitude from patients and their family members confirms the value of establishing this program in Saskatchewan.”


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