Mr Tan, who became the first patient in Singapore
to receive the treatment in August 2016, is glad that
the procedure has bought him more time before
having to undergo the next open heart surgery.
Other advantages of the new procedure include the
shorter stay of just a few days, compared to several
weeks needed to recuperate from open heart
surgery, as well as being able to return to regular
activities almost immediately a er being discharged.
Integrated care from
childhood to adulthood
Dr Tay notes a key reason that enabled NUHCS to
o er this new technique: “For such a programme
to be approved, there has to be an integrated
child-adult cardiology service, in addition to
Seamless treatment for patients from childhood
to adulthood is one of NUHS’ key o erings
for heart patients. There is also an integrated
multidisciplinary team of cardiologists and surgeons
to plan and perform the procedure.
“Both NUHCS and the NUH paediatric cardiology
teams are conjoined. Our foetal cardiologists,
adult cardiologists and cardiac surgeons traverse
to treat both child and adult patients. We hold
multidisciplinary discussions and are able to assess
patients holistically to recommend the best option
for each of them,” says Dr Tay.
Assoc Prof Quek adds: “Working together as a team
a ords much synergy. The patients benefit from
our combined expertise as well as familiar faces
Making a difference
to heart patients
Months a er the procedure, Mr Tan remains in the
pink of health and spends his time tackling a busy
schedule as a consumer experience consultant.
He is grateful for the medical advances that have
enabled him to now live without su ering constant
fatigue and breathlessness. “My doctor calls me a
‘good living example’ to others. I hope to show that
even someone with a heart condition can live an
active and vibrant life,” he says.
NUHS aims to extend the same procedure to more
patients in 2017, and develop NUHCS as a regional
referral centre as well as teaching and training hub
for the technique. With these e orts, more heart
patients could become empowered and enjoy a
healthy life away from fear, the same way Mr Tan
The minimally invasive valve
created from a cow’s neck vein
and a stretchable metal stent – is
inserted through a leg vein and
guided up to the heart. First
trialled in the United Kingdom
in 2000, the valve became
commercially available in 2006.
Before launching it in Singapore
in 2016, NUHS doctors had
monitored the long-term medical
evidence of its safety, reliability
Doctors from NUHCS and NUH work closely to o er integrated
treatment for heart patients.
The patients benefit from our combined expertise
as well as familiar faces and surroundings.
Assoc Prof Quek Swee Chye, National University Hospital