Minimally-invasive interventional cardiology procedure saves puppy - Veterinary Practice
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Minimally-invasive interventional cardiology procedure saves puppy

Five-month-old Cosmo who was diagnosed with a life-threatening congenital heart defect has been given a new lease of life via a minimally-invasive cardiology procedure

A five-month-old Cockapoo puppy who was diagnosed with a life-threatening congenital heart defect has been given a new lease of life after surgery at the renowned Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Essex. A combined effort from Southfields’ Head of Cardiology Xavier Navarro-Cubas and Chris Linney, head of Cardiology at fellow Linnaeus referral centre, Paragon Veterinary Specialists in Wakefield, intervened to perform a minimally-invasive cardiology procedure to repair young Cosmo’s heart disease, known as a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

The highly experienced, specialist-led cardiology team at Southfields is one of just a few in the UK able to perform this type of minimally-invasive interventional cardiology procedure and Xavier explained the benefits of the minimally invasive approach.

Xavier, a European and RCVS specialist in small animal cardiology, said: “The ductus arteriosus is a small vessel, connecting the aorta artery (blood vessel that supplies the body with oxygenated blood) and the pulmonary artery (blood vessel that carries blood to the lungs to get oxygenated).

“Before birth, this vessel diverts blood away from the lungs, which are not yet functional, as the foetus’ oxygenated blood comes from the placenta. After birth, this vessel should close within three to four days but, in some cases, it stays open. This is known as patent ductus arteriosus.

“Dogs with untreated left-to-right shunting patent ductus arteriosus are at serious risk of developing severe complications, such as left-sided congestive heart failure, limiting their life expectancy significantly.

“Fortunately, left-to-right shunting PDA can benefit from two types of curative treatment. One option is to surgically ligate the small blood vessel (PDA), through open-chest surgery, which allows visualisation of the vessel and ligation with a suture. Once the procedure is finished, these dogs are hospitalised for three to four days, to control pain and to allow recovery from the surgery. 

“However, there is also a minimally-invasive treatment option, which benefits from the use of catheters placed within the vessels, allowing the occlusion of the vessel ‘from inside’. 

“This minimally-invasive procedure is the type of intervention we performed on Cosmo. A very small incision was made in Cosmo’s right groin to access the femoral artery and, through this vessel, we introduced a long catheter that was advanced towards the PDA, which sits above the heart.

“When the catheter was in position, a small device called an Amplatz Canine Duct Occluder (ACDO) was used to occlude the PDA from inside. Once the device was released, the catheters were removed and the small incision was closed with three skin sutures.

“Cosmo had an uneventful recovery and was discharged the following morning and should now enjoy a normal life expectancy with no further treatment required.”

Southfields Veterinary Specialists is one of the UK’s elite animal hospitals and offers specialist services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.  

For more information, visit the website or search for Southfields Veterinary Specialists on social media.  

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