Doctor says Canadian-led heart valve surgery details will ‘blow people’s minds’

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Max Morton, 81, sits with his dog Barney at his home in Richmond, B.C., on Monday October 30, 2017. Morton is one of 411 patients who had transcatheter aortic valve replacement surgery where the damaged aortic valve is replaced without removing the old one. The procedure is an alternative to the more invasive open-heart surgery. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – A Vancouver cardiologist is presenting details of a “revolutionary” heart surgery to thousands of doctors from around the world.

Dr. David Wood says 15,000 physicians and nurses gathered in Denver will hear that instead of invasive open heart surgery, patients could have a 45-minute aortic valve operation and be walking a few hours later.

He says people will have their “minds blown” by the relative simplicity of the surgery that 411 patients have had at 13 centres in North America, most of them in Canada.

Wood says patients are awake for the operation, their breastbone, or sternum, isn’t cut open, there’s no heart-lung machine and most people are out of hospital the next day.

He says the valve surgery for patients who experience chest pain and shortness of breath could become routine because recovery time is fast and hospital costs are so low.

Sister Theresa Stickley had the surgery three years ago at age 83 when she lived near Vancouver, and says she was close to death before Webb and his team performed “a miracle.”