Pioneering heart valve technology funded thanks to Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity

A pilot scheme into heart valves has been funded at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) thanks to donations to Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity.

The Ozaki heart valve procedure involves using a patient’s own tissue to create a new valve. The funding was for 20 individual valve sizers to pilot this project.

Several disease pathologies, such as congenital heart disease and rheumatic fever, can affect the aortic valve in young adults, as well as aortic valve with two rather than three leaflets. This can cause the valve to leak and cause blood to flow in the wrong direction during the heart filling stage.

This new procedure for replacing the valves is gaining significant popularity across the UK.            

Benefits of the Ozaki procedure include:

  • Less operations for patients as the valves grow with the heart and do not have to be replaced
  • Reduces the risk of blood clots and avoiding high risk blood thinning drugs such as warfarin
  • With the sizers provided, operations were able to take place at the BHI and Bristol Children's Hospital simultaneously, reducing waiting times
  • Improving survival rates.

Ozaki heart valve 3D printingMassimo Caputo said: “This grant has been very successful and helped us in starting and consolidating a very important surgical innovation that is changing clinical practice and hopefully significantly improving patients benefits.

"We have now operated on more than 50 young adult and teenagers with excellent results so far and we are following all our patients to make sure the new valve we created with the patient own pericardial tissue is still working well.

"At the same time we have developed a 3D printing technology that can help us preparing for the operation and better explain the technique to our patients (pictured). This new and exciting development in valve surgery for the young adults could not have been possible without the generous help of Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity in sponsoring the study and sustaining the costs of the new equipment.”

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