Heart Valve Research
Along with research into aortic surgery, valve research explores the surgical repair, non-invasive repair or replacement of valves within the heart. Valves help hold and push blood through the four ventricles of the heart and into/out of the lungs. Professors Wilson and Vallely, along with Professor Ng from the Heart Research Institute, have a continuing commitment to research into valve disease with a focus being the elderly patient and transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). The area of research has some crossover with aortic root reconstruction surgery and approaches to these types of surgery involves understanding patient risk factors, types of surgery best suited to that patient and perfecting surgical skills.
Repair or replacement of the mitral valve has changed so much over the years and research continues to inform best practice. A new approach for patients too unwell to have surgery, is the endovascular (through the blood vessel) placement of a clip to reduce valve leakage. Results from ‘Mitraclip’ surgery are constantly being reviewed over the long term to improve patient survival and longevity. This is further supported through animal model research and surgical training conducted in the Charles Perkins Centre laboratories.