New operating suites unveiled at Groote Schuur

Unveiling the new Christiaan Barnard Hybrid Operating Suites were, from left, Chris Barnard, son of the late Professor Christiaan Barnard; Peter Zilla, head of department, Chris Barnard Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery; and Groote Schuur chief executive, Dr Bhavna Patel.

Family members of the late Professor Christiaan Barnard were in attendance for the unveiling of the Christiaan Barnard Hybrid Operating Suites at Groote Schuur Hospital on Wednesday September 7.

The hospital recently embarked on minimally invasive surgery and hybrid cardiac surgery procedures which ensures more comfort, better outcomes and quicker recovery for patients undergoing heart surgery.

To reduce the risk of post-operative complications and avoid the use of replacement valves wherever possible, key-hole surgery is aimed at the repair of the patient’s own diseased heart valves has also become a standard procedure at Groote Schuur in recent years. However, as the operative risk may still be too high for some patients, the replacement of diseased heart valves is increasingly also performed as a so-called “trans-catheter” procedure.

This approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve into the diseased valve through a catheter.

This technique, which was adopted by Groote Schuur, will now occur in the new hybrid operating theatres, which combine an operating for open heart surgery with a catheter suite used by cardiologists for procedures such as angiograms and coronary stent implanations.

At the unveiling ceremony, Dr Agata Krajewski said she wished to thank everyone at the hospital for their perseverence in ensuring the suites came to fruition.

“There were many times that we felt that the project was threatened, but we want to thank all staff for their commitment to sorting out everything from logistics to catering,” she said.

Professor Barnard’s son Chris said his father would have been honoured to have the suites named after him.

“Groote Schuur continues to strive to be the best in all fields of medicine, so on behalf of my dad I wish to thank Professor Peter Zilla (head of department, Chris Barnard Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery) and his team, as well as all the companies which continue to donate to the hospital.”