Doctors in a Delhi hospital have performed a rare surgery on three patients over 70 years of age, implanting a heart valve without cutting open their chest.
Surgeons at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute conducted the surgery known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) on three elderly patients who had severe blockage of the main blood vessel of the heart.
The procedure provides hopes for thousands of people for whom cutting open the chest for replacing a valve implant may prove fatal. The technique involves making a small incision through which doctors transport a synthetic valve to the heart.
Dr Ashok Seth, who led the surgery, said that the patients' families had to seek permission from the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for the treatment as they were very frail. "They were at risk as conventional surgery would have involved opening up the chest and heart and putting patients on cardio-pulmonary bypass. Two of them had earlier undergone bypass surgeries and were frail while a woman also had extreme calcification of aortas making her unfit for surgery", Dr Seth said.