EACTS conference 2019

EACTS conference 2019

Friday 4th October 2019

Day One- Morning The first part of my day at EACTs was spent discussing the advancements in Minimal Invasive Surgery (MIS). I managed to speak to Chris Young, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at St. Thomas' Hospital about innovative treatments and the advancement in MIS.

The traditional way to perform surgery on a valve is through the breastbone (something that I had myself and you can read my story here), but after surgery like this you can’t drive, lift anything heavy or even push up from a bed or chair for several weeks. With MIS the surgeon uses uses a smaller incision, often on the right side of the chest (there are other options too)!!

Talking to Chris the benefits seem huge. Recovery is much quicker, usually about three weeks, less post-op discomfort, shorter hospital stay, less risk of infection, driving within 4 weeks and there are no living restrictions as the wound is not in the same place.

Most argue that the method is just as safe as open heart surgery and whilst being slightly longer surgery to perform the recovery is so much quicker. I do wonder how quickly I would have been able to get back to caring for my mum if I had accessed MIS but it wasn’t even mentioned during my treatment decisions. I appreciate it doesn’t fit all patents but I can’t help think that we should be talking about it more.

It was so fascinating to hear how far devices have improved and evolved and that the range of procedures will give patients more options, putting patient experience into the conversation with treatment. We talked about sutures valves, mitral valve technologies, repairs and replacements, it was reassuring to hear that surgeons had so many more options in their armoury. Although Wil tells me that their are inequalities in accessing them all, geography plays a part and commissioning is often a stumbling block in ensuring the right patient gets the right treatment!