Published: Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Chair blog: pioneers



In this month's blog, I will be discussing a pioneering new treatment which is now available at the Golden Jubilee.

After three years of hard work and dedication from our team, we are delighted to have become the first hospital in Scotland to perform a new, minimally invasive, heart valve replacement technique - a Right Anterior Thoracotomy (RAT) – on a patient requiring an Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR).

This procedure relies on a state-of-the-art, suture-less, prosthetic valve which is inserted via a small incision in the chest wall, with significant advantages and benefits for a patient's treatment and recovery. Traditionally, AVR procedures require the patient's chest to be fully opened to provide the necessary access for a replacement valve to be sutured into place. This experience can be quite traumatic for the patient and take up to three months to heal. With this new technique, patients can also get back to leading a normal, healthy lifestyle far quicker.


The procedure was carried out by Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon Fraser Sutherland, with assistance from fellow Consultant Surgeon Philip Curry and Consultant Anaesthetist Adarsh Lal. We were also in the privileged position to have the entire process overseen by Professor Otto Dapunt, one of the world's leading experts in suture-less replacement, who had been assisting our team in the lead up to the procedure.

The patient was treated in March, and while they have requested not to be named, I am delighted to report an extremely good response to the procedure, and that the patient has since been discharged and will continue to have their progress monitored.


In appropriate patients, RAT is a far safer and more clinically effective method of treating AVR cases and it is our aim to be able to offer this treatment many more patients as we move forward. We are also hopeful that this procedure can be adapted and utilised for other replacement and repair procedures. If this can be accomplished, not only would we be offering the highest possible standard of care to our patients, but could result in a more effective use of resources at the Golden Jubilee and for the NHS as a whole.


As a major heart and lung centre, with a strong track record in innovation and research, we are very proud of our team for leading the way with RAT in Scotland, once again demonstrating to our dedication to creating an environment of continuous improvement, allowing us to evolve and address the major issues in the fast changing world of modern healthcare.


This is a fantastic development for the Golden Jubilee and yet another positive step forward in our ambition of leading quality, research and innovation for the NHS in Scotland.

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