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Australian-first cardiology treatment at Gosford Private Heart Centre

Interventional Cardiologists, Dr Tom Ford and Dr Roberto Spina, recently introduced the 'Megatron' stent at Gosford Private in an Australian-first. Learn more.

Terry had a near fatal heart attack while undergoing chemotherapy during his battle against lung cancer. One of his main coronary arteries had a >95% blockage and his heart was failing, with his remaining right coronary artery also blocked.

Open heart surgery was not a good option for Terry. A family discussion and multidisciplinary meeting supported the plan for a high-risk Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) with coronary drill (rotational atherectomy) and stenting. In essence, the Cardiologists would use a thin tube to enter the blocked arteries, then navigate a small drill to remove the blockage, and insert a stent to hold the arteries open.

Using the ‘drill’ involved additional risks but was seen to be crucial to break down the calcific plaque that was causing the blockage, allowing good stent expansion and better long term results.

Terry was the first patient in Australia to receive a ‘Megatron’ stent.

“I was honoured to be trusted with the opportunity to implant the first ‘Megatron’ stent in Australia. I chose to perform this procedure at Gosford Private Hospital with my friend and co-operator Dr Roberto Spina. The stent is designed to expand in large arteries (e.g. left main) and stops stent recoil within resistant calcified vessels. Terry underwent the coronary drill and stenting from his wrist (radial artery) and was discharged shortly after in good spirits,” said Interventional Cardiologist, Dr Tom Ford.

“I want to thank Terry and his family for their trust and bravery as well as our fantastic treating team at Gosford Private including Dr Roberto Spina, anaesthetic support, the experienced nurses led by Linden Hurd, radiographers and other allied health professionals. All high-risk coronary interventions are truly a team effort and we are proud to be building the infrastructure to benefit patients locally on the Central Coast.”

“Severe left main coronary artery disease may present with heart attack or heart failure and is fatal for the majority of patients within 5 years.1 Traditionally these patients undergo coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) which improves symptoms and survival. Randomised trials have recently shown percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with stenting to have similar long term survival as CABG when performed by expert operators.2,3 PCI (stenting) typically has shorter hospital stay, greater early safety, better early quality of life and more rapid recovery and return to normal activity. Nevertheless, PCI patients are more likely to need repeat procedures (~17% of PCI patients versus ~10% of CABG patients require another stent at five year follow up).2

Dr Ford specialises in complex coronary interventions including elderly patients with co-morbidities in whom surgery is often too risky or declined by the patient. He qualified as a cardiologist in Sydney (2015) and spent three additional years training in Glasgow – the UK’s highest volume centre for coronary intervention. Amongst over 1500 first operator PCIs, Dr Ford has performed over 75 unprotected left main coronary interventions almost exclusively from the radial approach. Since starting on the Central Coast in 2019, he has treated over 20 local patients with left main coronary interventions.

“I feel proud to work in both the public and private sectors, helping to train young Cardiologists whilst supporting our community with our new 24/7 emergency PCI service at Gosford Hospital,” said Dr Ford.