Bringing Innovations to Heart Surgery

Imagine a place where aortic valves can be replaced through a five-centimetre incision between two ribs rather than breaking breast bones; where a 10-day hospital stay is reduced to no more than four days; where a patient feels less pain and has a lower risk of post-operative infection.

Barry Goldman, Dr. Adel Dyub and Joe deTuba

Barry Goldman, Dr. Adel Dyub and Joe deTuba

That place is Hamilton General Hospital, Ontario’s leader in cardiac surgery. Hamilton General Hospital is one of only three sites in Canada that currently performs mini-aortic valve replacement (mini-AVR) surgery, an innovation with the potential to transform lives.

Aortic stenosis, commonly known as the narrowing of the aortic valve, is one of the most common and most serious heart valve diseases, as it increasingly reduces the flow of blood out of the heart to the rest of the body.

Mini-AVR offers hope for some patients who might require valve replacement surgery. It is giving a second-life to those patients who meet the strict medical criteria for this innovative surgical procedure.

Patients such as Joe deTuba, who was exercising at the gym when his heart rate spiked. After being transported to the local hospital, it was determined that Joe had suffered a heart attack. He was in urgent need of an angioplasty and was transported to Hamilton General Hospital.

Test results showed that Joe suffered from congenital bicuspid aortic valve, a condition in which his aortic valve was made of only two leaflets and not the normal three. This condition made him more prone to aortic stenosis, something that was diagnosed while at The General. As a result, Joe needed a new aortic valve.

After consulting with Dr. Dyub, Joe was fortunate to be a candidate for a mini-AVR. Four days after the procedure, Joe was sleeping in his own bed, and a week later he was back to driving. The scar is barely visible and mere centimetres long.

Barry Goldman also suffered from a congenital bicuspid aortic valve, which had been diagnosed previously and was being monitored. When he started to experience shortness of breath and a loss of stamina, he knew it was time to see his cardiologist. A few days later he was under the care of Dr. Dyub at Hamilton General Hospital.

Barry was fortunate that he met the conditions for mini-AVR and underwent the procedure. He was back to work and some exercise within days of the procedure. Barry is a marvel to his friends who have undergone open heart surgery.

“Twenty-five years ago this operation wouldn’t have been possible,” says a grateful Barry. “This procedure is scientifically a much better approach and I wouldn’t be alive today without it.”

Both Joe and Barry are thrilled with the results and can’t say enough about care they received at Hamilton General Hospital. This innovative procedure and others like it are possible because of the world-class clinical teams at Hamilton General Hospital.