BASILDON heart specialists were screened live around Britain to show doctors new procedures to treat blocked arteries.

Cutting-edge technologies are being used by doctors at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre at Basildon Hospital to open completely blocked arteries, called chronic total occlusion.

The procedure will prevent patients from suffering heart attacks, which are caused when blocked arteries restrict blood flow to the heart.

Cardiologists Dr Paul Kelly, Dr John Davies and Dr Kare Tang, were all filmed at the hospital to show how they unblock arteries in previously impossible situations.

A procedure called angioplasty is commonly used to open narrowed arteries.

Guided by X-raymonitors, the cardiologist inserts a hollow tube, or catheter, into the blocked artery, via a small incision in the groin or arm. A thin guide wire is then fed through the catheter, over which a small balloon is delivered to the affected area, which is inflated to open the artery.

In most cases a stent is also inserted which acts as a scaffold and keeps the artery open.

If the artery is completely blocked, it can be impossible to insert the balloon to open it. But doctors at Basildon’s Cardiothoracic Centre are using cutting-edge equipment, such as the stingray balloon, with a flattened head that allows a guide wire to bypass the blockage.

Dr Abdul Mozid, specialist registrar in cardiology, who helped organise the training event, said: “The Essex cardiothoracic centre is one of the few centres in Britain to use these new techniques and our aim is to help other national centres learn how to do the same.

“We have acquired the specialist equipment and are keen to share our expertise.”

Southend Standard: Basildon Hospital

Basildon Hospital

A QUADRUPLE bypass patient who was running out of options to prevent more heart attacks is living a healthier life thanks to ground-breaking procedures at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre.

Roy Hammon, 72, a retired builder, had his first heart attack aged 45, and despite giving up smoking and remaining active, he had two more since then.

He underwent an quadruple bypass in London, but within six months his arteries were becoming blocked again.

Normally, doctors can only open up arteries which are partly blocked, as they send a balloon through the artery to open up the area. But the option was unavailable to him because his artery was completely blocked.

But Essex Cardiothoracic Centre consultant cardiologist Dr Paul Kelly carried out an innovative procedure which used a stingray balloon, which is flatter than normal balloons sent through the artery, to open up the completely blocked area.

The treatment was broadcast live to doctors around the UK and completely restored blood flow to the blocked vessel.

Roy returned home the following day.

Speaking two weeks after the procedure, Roy, from Ware in Hertfordshire, said: “I am definitely feeling the effects of the procedure in a good way. I have been out in my greenhouse watering plants.”