A consultant cardiologist at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust has designed an innovative device with the aim of reducing the risk of complications during cardiac interventions.

Known as the BreckerWire, the device is a new design of intracardiac guidewire developed by Dr Stephen Brecker, a cardiologist at St George’s since 1996.

Intracardiac guidewires are used in a number of cardiac procedures, including a minimally invasive procedure to replace the aortic valve. This is known as a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

The BreckerWire is a preshaped, flexible wire which enables the safer delivery of valves to the heart. Previously, a standard stiff guidewire was used in the TAVI procedure which carried a risk of complications, such as perforation of the ventricle.

In 2008, Dr Brecker aimed to redesign the traditional guidewire to allow more controlled use during high risk cardiac procedures. The idea was developed in conjunction with St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust and NHS Innovations London, and was also highly commended in the NHS Innovations London annual awards in 2009.

A clinical trial of the BreckerWire took place in 2010, and it is now being used in around four TAVI procedures every month at St George’s.

Dr Brecker said:

“To me, it seemed an obvious and simple idea which no-one else had done. Taking the idea from my head to the bedside was the difficult step, but having done this I am keen to assist others within the trust to do the same.

“I am convinced that the trust must have many efficient, innovative ideas which could enhance patient care and safety, but most of us simply keep the ideas to ourselves. Having faith that the idea can actually translate into something concrete is where the trust can help.”

Miles Scott, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, said:

“Innovations like these show that our staff are committed to maintaining high quality care, as well as being able to identify improvements which can make patient care safer.

Notes to editors

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