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COVER

STORY

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

surgical expertise.”

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

and surroundings.”

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

has benefited.

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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

and suitability.

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

6

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OCT 2016

evidence+