Trust commissioned by NHS England to provide Yorkshire’s latest TAVI centre

Heart patients needing aortic valve replacements will be able to undergo the treatment at Castle Hill Hospital from the start of next year.

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been commissioned by NHS England to set up Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) following a review of services for patients living in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The TAVI service means people in Hull, the East Riding, North Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire will be able to undergo the procedure closer to home and will no longer face journeys to Sheffield or Leeds for treatment.

Trust chief executive Chris Long said: “Becoming the third TAVI centre in the region further underlines our reputation for excellence in the field of cardiology and is great news, not just for us but for our patients.

“The centre will be located here after some inequality of access was noted during a review of the service by NHS England. Patients from this area were experiencing delays in accessing treatment compared to those in West and South Yorkshire.

“Having a TAVI centre here means patients will no longer have to travel to other parts of Yorkshire for treatment which can make such a difference to their lives.”

Dr Michael Gregory, NHS England’s Regional Clinical Director for Specialised Commissioning in the North, said: “NHS England is pleased to support the commissioning of a new Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) centre in Hull.

“It is the third such centre in Yorkshire and the Humber, alongside Leeds and Sheffield, and will improve access and reduce travel out of the area for local patients who require this specialised service.”

Patients with aortic valve disease can experience angina, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness although some may not have symptoms at first.

As symptoms worsen, they require aortic valve replacements and those who are not considered suitable for major heart surgery will undergo the TAVI procedure instead.

Performed under a local or general anaesthetic, a catheter or hollow tube with a balloon on the tip is inserted into an artery in the upper leg or chest. The catheter is then passed into the heart and is positioned near the opening of the aortic valve.

The balloon is inflated to create space for a new tissue valve, which is then put in position and expanded.

The procedure puts less strain on the body as the heart does not need to be stopped and placed on bypass. It also avoids people having a large cut on their chests and can mean people recover more quickly than if they had undergone conventional surgery.

The trust is expected to introduce the TAVI service for some patients by January, with the centre becoming fully operational by 2020.