Heart patients waiting times reduced due to new procedure


Patients in Torbay and South Devon suffering from coronary artery disease can now undergo a life-saving procedure at Torbay Hospital for the first time – also reducing waiting times for surgery.

The introduction of a technique called ‘Rotablation’ has the additional benefits of:

State of art treatment for our patients. 
Reducing patients stay in hospital whilst awaiting transfer to other hospitals. 
Shorter waiting times for elective procedures – we can do within a month, compared to several months in some trusts. 
Patients don’t have to be transferred to other hospitals.

Dr Usman Sheikh, Consultant Cardiologist at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This service is important to our increasingly aging population, meaning they can come here rather than have a long wait and travel to other centres. This brings us in line with the rest of the country in offering this service to our population.”
Rotablation is where a tiny drill made of diamonds is fed through the patient’s artery on a thin wire to remove calcified deposits in their coronary arteries. The patient only requires local anaesthetic and can go home the next day. These are high risk patients who have been either turned down for coronary artery bypass surgery or deemed complex for conventional balloon stretch of the heart artery (percutaneous coronary procedure).

The first patients have now been treated at Torbay Hospital – which is run by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust – using the Rotablation technique with three consultants (Dr Usman Sheikh, Dr Dirk Felmeden and Dr Loke Bhatia) from the Trust fully trained to perform the procedure. Three specialist nurses have undertaken additional training to support the procedure.

Sheila Pavey, 74, is the first patient to undergo the Rotablation procedure at Torbay Hospital. She visited the cardiac team who attended her to say thankyou for her care. She said: “I’m so grateful to the nurses and doctors, but how do you properly say thankyou to people who save your life – there aren’t enough words to express myself properly.

“I was a bit apprehensive when they explained how the new Rotablation works, but I had confidence in them and they were all brilliant at caring for me. I’m effectively having a second lease of life – it’s wonderful.’’
Whilst this is not a new technique and is widely used across the country, having the ability to offer Rotablation treatment at Torbay Hospital has huge benefits for the patient, added Dr Sheikh.

Previously, patients waiting for this procedure would have been conservatively managed on medication or been referred to another hospital in the South West and experienced longer waits due to demand for the service. However, with the introduction of this service, patients waiting for the procedure at Torbay will be seen within one month to undergo treatment.

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