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Our MitraClip accreditation – How it benefits our patients

More than half a million Australians are currently living with a type of Heart Valve Disease (HVD), known as Mitral Regurgitation (MR), which if left untreated can lead to heart failure, but Heart HQ is now providing a new ‘key-hole’ procedure that can be completed close to home.

Traditionally, open heart surgery was the only treatment for MR. However, in a first for the Sunshine Coast, Heart HQ is offering an alternate way to manage the disease.

“Your heart has four valves, one of which is called the mitral valve and this valve can leak, causing blood to flow backwards, and the heart to work harder,” our cardiologist Dr Peter Larsen said.

“The MitraClip is a new, far less invasive procedure that is an option for patients who may not be good candidates for open heart surgery, for example our elderly patients or those with pre-existing medical conditions,” our cardiologist Dr Butterly said.

“The device is delivered to your heart via a very fine tube, which is inserted through a vein in your groin and will carefully pass the MitraClip up to your heart.”

Sunshine Coast resident Hugh Ramsay, was one of the first patients to receive the life-changing procedure, after his GP detected abnormalities in his heart.

“If it wasn’t for this type of surgery, the only option I would have had would be to undergo open heart surgery on bypass,” Mr Ramsay said.

“At the time I was 71 years old and I had just finished chemotherapy, after having been diagnosed with cancer, so I wasn’t in a position where I would have been able to handle open heart surgery.”

“Since having the MitraClip put in, I feel so much more energized each day and I sleep better.”

“It was also an added bonus not to have to travel to Brisbane for the procedure. I was literally out the next day and I really can’t thank the Heart HQ team enough.”

Dr Butterly said having no symptoms despite having a severely leaking valve isn’t uncommon, which is why cases of MR are continuing to grow.

“This year alone we saw approximately 150,000 Australians diagnosed with Mitral Regurgitation, a figure which is projected to increase to 200,000 cases by 2051,” Dr Butterly said.

Dr Larsen and Dr Butterly lead our Heart Valve Team, and together, are the only credentialed operators on the Sunshine Coast for this type of surgery, meaning the cost to the patient is covered by Medicare.

“Attaining this accreditation is a game-changer for people on the Sunshine Coast,” Dr Larsen said.

“Traditionally, patients would have to travel to Brisbane for this type of surgery and in some cases pay anywhere from $5000-$10,000. But at Heart HQ we are a no-gap practice.”

Dr Butterly said the Heart HQ Team was able to attain the accreditation because they operate at the region’s only Cardiac Hospital, Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital and the team had successfully completed a specialised training course.

“SCUPH is the only cardiac hospital with a heart team to support these cases,” Dr Larsen said.