1Do you see private patients?

Yes. We have a fantastic private patients suite with individual rooms with en-suite facilities, LCD TVs, wi-fi internet access and a bedside telephone. Our chef prepares our patients’ meals in a dedicated kitchen on the Ward and our team of hostesses provide room service throughout the day. We offer complimentary drinks for your relatives during Tea and coffee rounds and there is also a coffee machine in the foyer of the ward. Your relatives are welcome to eat with you, if this is your preference. Please note there is a charge for this service.

2Do all heart surgeons perform minimally invasive mitral valve surgery?

No. Cardiac surgery is becoming increasingly subspecialised as there is clear evidence that outcomes are better for surgeons who perform a large volume of a single procedure. Thus, mitral valve surgery has become a subspecialty in its own right. In fact, the majority of mitral valve surgeons in the UK do not perform minimally invasive surgery. The learning curve for this operation is very long as it is technically complex, but there are significant benefits for patients. Specialist training is essential.

3I have mitral valve disease and was not aware that there was an alternative to a conventional sternotomy. How do I go about getting referred to see Mr Modi?

Please contact us to let us know your interest so we can start the ball rolling. We will need a referral letter from your cardiologist who himself may not be aware of this procedure as it is only performed by a handful of surgeons in the UK. However, this procedure is now the standard of care for the management of mitral valve disease at the major heart centres in North America and Europe. We will also need copies of your echo and coronary angiogram on CD for Mr Modi to study prior to your consultation. If these have not been done, they can either be arranged in Liverpool or we can organise for your cardiologist to do them. Mr Modi will then see you in clinic in Liverpool to discuss your various treatment options with you and whether you are suitable for key hole heart surgery. If any further investigations are needed, they will be requested at this stage and a provisional date for surgery decided.

4I don’t live in the Merseyside area, can I still be treated at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital?

Yes, due to Patient Choice patients in the NHS have the right to choose where they are treated.

5Will I still need a coronary angiogram?

Yes, you will need the same pre-operative tests as someone who is having the conventional operation.

6Are any extra tests needed? If so, where will they performed?Open

Yes, you may be required to have a CT scan of the arteries in your body which will be performed in Liverpool at your convenience.

7How long is an average operation?Open

A minimally invasive mitral valve repair / replacement takes about 4½ to 5 hours but we keep you sedated for a few hours after the operation on the Post-Operative Critical Care Unit so we can monitor you closely.

8Is the heart-lung machine still needed?

Yes, we make a 2cm cut in the right groin to use the femoral vessels for cardiopulmonary bypass. This incision is placed in a skin crease so will be hardly visible afterwards.

9How long will I be in hospital?

This is variable and will depend on the complexity of your surgery. You will usually be admitted the day prior to your surgery and most patients stay about four days afterwards although some may need a little longer (or shorter) than this to recover.

10How long before my family can see me in the Critical Care Unit?

Once the nursing staff are happy with all your monitoring, two members of your family at any one time are welcome to sit by your bed, however, many families prefer to wait until the following day before visiting.

11Is there somewhere for my family to stay?

Robert Owen House is our on-site relatives accommodation, supporting patients’ families from outside of the area. The House provides accommodation for the relatives of patients undergoing treatment at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital. The Robert Owen House was founded by Professor Owen who, following his own surgery at the hospital, realised many patients lived a distance away and there was a need for on-site accommodation.

Robert Owen House is often described as a ‘home from home’ or a ‘haven’ by our patients’ families. It is conveniently situated on site and close to the hospital’s wards and critical care unit so that relatives can be near to their loved ones whilst they undergo their treatment at the hospital. Our team aims to ensure relatives are supported during their stay with us in a safe, clean and friendly environment.

12What are the long-term results of minimally invasive mitral valve surgery?

This technique has been available in North America and Germany since the mid-1990s. The technique of valve repair once the surgeon gets to the valve is identical to those used during the conventional approach and the data we have so far suggests that there is no difference in long-term outcomes.