The Ozaki procedure was demonstrated at the 43rd Arab Health conference in Dubai on Monday
New surgery technique to reduce number of heart disease deaths in UAE
Surgeons are bringing a new heart operation to the region that promises to help reduce the number of deaths in the UAE from cardio vascular disease.
Cardiac surgeon Cesare Quarto took centre stage on day one of the 43rd Arab Health conference in Dubai to perform a demonstration of how the Ozaki procedure works.
He is one of just 30 or so surgeons capable of performing the complex surgery, and said it is proving an effective long term solution to help reduce CVD related deaths.
“There are more elderly patients now in the country with heart disease, or some kind of congenital disease,” said Mr Quarto, a surgeon at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital.
“Obesity, smoking and a general inactive unhealthy lifestyle is responsible for aortic disease.
“Over the last two years we have seen increasing interest and demand for this surgery due to its effectiveness and successful results.
“Instead of replacing the damaged aortic valve with a prosthetic implant, the valve is reconstructed using heart tissue from an animal.”
The aortic valve is responsible for maintaining healthy circulation around the body. Without a healthy function, patients can feel short of breath, chest pain and fatigue.
If patients display symptoms, they also usually have a 60 per cent chance of death.
Although valve replacement surgery has existed for 30 years the Ozaki procedure was developed by a Japanese surgeon just a decade ago, and is different as it can help younger patients under 65 and is showing long term success.
“We have two types of valve, mechanical which lasts a long time but requires patients to take a blood thinning medication, or a biological valve made from animal tissue that can last 8-15 years,” Mr Quarto said.
“This procedure can last even longer, and does not require the medication of a mechanical valve.
“Long term medication taken by patients who have had valve replacement surgery can impact on lifestyle, restricting their sporting and general activity.”
“Patients who have had this surgery can return to a normal lifestyle.
“We don’t know how long the valve lasts, but it is significantly longer than with other surgeries, maybe up to 20 years.
“Those who are in their mid-40s may not need to have another surgery until their mid to late 60s, and by then we expect the medical technology to have progressed even further.”
Almost 40 per cent of deaths in the Middle East are caused by cardio vascular valve disease (CVD) and 38 per cent of deaths are attributed to CVDs in the UAE.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), up to 50 per cent of people who die from CVDs in some Gulf countries die before the age of 60 due to poor diet, and lack of exercise.
Using this new procedure RB&HH experts hope to revolutionise the way surgery is carried out for patients with a life-threatening aortic heart valve disease.
Valves can be made specifically for each patient; to ensure they are as effective as possible in helping blood flow.
This also helps prevent early degeneration of the valve.
Surgery takes about four hours, with patients usually out of hospital a week later.
“The more time we can buy for patients, the better it is for them,” Mr Quarto said.
“Medicine and our knowledge of it is increasing by about 50 per cent every five years.”