Providing state-of-the-art equipment
Enhancing cardiology at King’s
Wonderful donations maintain and improve King’s cardiology service through helping to buy state-of-the-art equipment and supporting pioneering research.
Making surgery safer
Your generous support has provided a new ultrasound scanner at King’s, which is making heart surgery procedures safer and quicker for patients.
The ultrasound guidance means that surgeons can access hard to reach arteries much more easily.
When surgeons put devices into the heart, such as replacement valves and umbrellas to close off holes, it’s usually done through an artery in the groin and threaded up to the heart from there. This is because it’s one of the biggest arteries and therefore allows the safest access.
However, these arteries are buried deep within the upper thigh which can present challenges in finding the artery, especially without causing additional trauma to the leg. In some cases, the procedure would even require surgical cut-downs to access the artery.
Now though, thanks to the new scanner, surgeons have ultrasound guidance so the artery can be visualised on screen. This means they can get to it on their first attempt which has many benefits for the patient, as Professor Mark Monaghan, Director of Non-Invasive Cardiology, explains.
‘It’s a lot less traumatic, a lot quicker, and it reduces the risk of bleeding after the procedure as well,’ says Mark. ‘Less complications means patients get discharged earlier, which naturally most people want.’
This innovative piece of kit is perfect for this type of surgery due to its wireless connection. Having no cables in the way means the probe can be put in a sterile bag and used in the operating field easily and safely, unlike conventional scanners.
‘It’s incredibly helpful and is used all the time,’ says Mark. ‘The scanner is something that we wouldn’t have without the support of donations. It really benefits both patients and staff.’
Finding innovative new treatments
King’s has a large and active research programme in cardiology, investigating many aspects of heart disease.
Thanks to donations, roles have been created for three research fellows to run a programme in finding innovative ways of treating heart valve disease.
The fellows are using pioneering imaging techniques and 3D printing to create models of heart valves. The models are then put into a special machine – also funded by donations - that simulates the heart and blood flow.
Consultants can then use this method to practise surgical techniques for repairing heart valves, and to test which devices are best to treat different types of valve disease.
‘The fellows’ work and the equipment they’re using will help us perfect clinical techniques,’ Mark explains. ‘This funding is vital to helping generate research and clinical tools that will be used on patients one day.
‘It also helps us seed projects that will collect important data, meaning we can build a strong application and go to research funding organisations for large grant backing in the future’
With the average age of the UK population on the increase, so is the prevalence of heart valve disease. Both this research and the new ultrasound scanner at King’s mean that our consultants can offer minimal access treatment rather than open heart surgery more readily, even to elderly patients who would have previously been considered as too high risk.
‘It’s all about our philosophy of being world-class, it’s what we want to be,’ says Mark. ‘Donations are a vital component of helping us achieve that.’
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Above right image: Dr Mehdi Eskandari and Dr Omar Aldalati, two of the research fellows whose brilliant work is supported by donations