Life-saving procedure - the first of its kind in New Zealand


Life-saving procedure - the first of its kind in New Zealand

News release from St George's Hospital

Mr Robert Cameron, a horse breeder and retired horse trainer from Christchurch, was fortunate to discover that he required life saving surgery while having routine testing prior to a knee reconstruction.

“I was having a knee operation one minute, and then all of a sudden I needed surgery for a huge 9.5 cm aneurysm and also a valve replacement”.

“Dr Blake and his team got into it quickly and I was booked in and having the procedures at St George’s Hospital about two weeks after finding out my results” Mr Cameron says.

Mr Cameron’s case was complicated, and it was decided through a rigorous hospital wide consultation process that the two highly skilled procedures would take place consecutively, in a procedure that was to be the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Mister Malcolm Gordon, Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon and Dr James Blake, Cardiologist and their teams would complete the endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) followed by the trans-catheter aortic valve replacement (TAVI).

Dr Blake, who carried out the TAVI component of the procedure with Dr David Smyth and their teams, says there are a number of reasons for completing the two operations consecutively.

“Doing the two procedures together was much more convenient and beneficial for Mr Cameron and his subsequent recovery,” he says.

“The patient’s aortic stenosis would increase anaesthetic risk for the aneurysm procedure so it made sense to do them together, especially as both are trans-catheter procedures, using the same access point through the femoral artery in the groin.”

St George’s Hospital was an ideal location to carry out the procedures, with modern operating theatres, skilled staff and a state of the art Intensive Care Unit and Intensivist on standby should an emergency take place.

Mister Cameron feels much healthier after the operation and was surprised about the speed of his subsequent recovery.

“I’m thrilled with the outcome, I used to cough so badly and I wasn’t feeling so good generally. It turns out it was all related back to my heart” Mr Cameron says.

“Looking back at my diary, I had the operation on December the 7th last year; I was home four days later and by January I was able to walk around a kilometre in just 45 minutes. It’s been great to get back outside, mow the lawns and get down to the stables to see my horses again.”

Mr Gordon, was delighted with the result;- “The procedure certainly saved Mr Cameron’s life, as the aneurysm had a nearly 100 per cent chance of rupture in the next year,” he says.

This year the Heart Centre located at St George’s Hospital will be celebrating 15 years of caring for Cantabrians’ hearts and their subsequent wellbeing. The Cardiology Day Unit, located at St George’s Hospital, is proud to provide a wide range of routine and innovative heart health services, to suit their patients’ needs.