Willows Veterinary Centre is now offering transeptal puncture (TSP), a minimally invasive procedure previously only used in human healthcare, to treat dogs with heart failure. 

The procedure involves introducing a catheter through the jugular, then using fluoroscopy and transoesophageal echocardiography to guide it from the right atrium through to the left side of the heart to relieve abnormal high pressures in the left atrium.

Willows says it is one of only a few centres across Europe equipped to carry out the procedure and that typically, patients who undergo TSP can be discharged from hospital the day after surgery.

Fabio Sarcinella (pictured right), an RCVS and European specialist in small animal cardiology at Willows, said: “Early clinical evaluation of the TSP procedure in humans over the last few years has shown improved quality of life and reduced clinical signs in patients with heart failure.

“The procedure has also been associated with low-risk and a meaningful drop in left atrial pressure of the affected patients.”

Fabio added: “As well as being minimally invasive, the improvement in heart chamber pressures via TSP often allows for a reduction in the dose of water tablets which are used to control the heart failure signs in the lungs.

"Lowering the dose reduces the risk of side effects related to these drugs such as kidney failure.”

Willows says TSP is most commonly used for left atrial decompression in dogs with heart failure and concurrent renal disease or that have advanced heart failure but continue to have symptoms despite optimal medical treatment.


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