72-year-old patient home in time for Christmas following life-changing procedure


9 December 2019 

Interventional Cardiologist at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside performs new procedure giving Grandad new life.

On Monday 9 December, Mr Trevor Leitch, 72, was admitted to St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside to undergo a complex heart procedure using a new device called the Impella®.

Several tests revealed Mr Leitch’s heart was not getting enough blood and oxygen. Nor was his heart pumping blood as well as it should. Two out of three arteries were totally blocked.

“I wanted to make sure I had something done,” Mr Leitch said.

“I hadn’t ever heard of it,” Mr Leitch added when talking about the new Impella® device.

Interventional Cardiologist, Prof Darren Walters, performed the operation alongside fellow Interventional Cardiologist Dr Rustem Dautov, Anaesthetist Dr Daniel Dallimore and Cardiac Surgeon Dr Andrew Clarke; using the Impella® device for the first time at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside.

Prof Walters and Dr Dautov performed the first cases of Impella® assisted complex coronary stenting in Australia in 2017 pioneering this type of work. In this case, the patient’s leg vessels were blocked, so Dr Clarke cut down to the artery in the left arm to allow the team to do the procedure.

“This procedure has only been performed 15 times across Queensland and only 52 times nationally.

“The patient underwent an extensive procedure involving complex Percutaneous Coronary Intervention on a chronically occluded vessel, using rotational atherectomy and many other advanced techniques,” Prof Walters said.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) is a non-surgical procedure that uses a catheter (a thin tube) to place a stent (a small structure) to open up blood vessels in the heart that have narrowed because of plaque build-up.

“Using the Impella® helps increase the safety of the complex PCI for the patient.

“The Impella® is a small percutaneous ventricular assist device that can be placed via the femoral / subclavian artery. It assists the heart to pump blood around the body. It is utilized to support patients with poor heart function. The device pumps blood from the left ventricle into the ascending aorta and systemic circulation. Due to the high risk of compromise during the procedure, the use of the Impella® to provide mechanical support is vital to success,” Prof Walters said.

Just days following the procedure, Mr Leitch was able to walk and discharged from hospital only a few days later to return home. Mr Leitch is looking forward to travelling south to spend Christmas with his family.