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D OCT OR ʼ S H EAR TBEAT Dr Edgar Tay is a practicing cardiologist at the National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS), and an Assistant Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. Dr Tay obtained his Master of the Royal College of Physicians (UK) diploma in 2004, and completed his cardiology training at the National University Hospital, Singapore, in 2008. He obtained the Ministry of Health’s scholarship to undergo sub-specialty training in Adult Congenital Heart Disease and Pulmonary Hypertension at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK and then completed a second year of interventional fellowship at St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver BC, where he was trained in transcatheter aortic valve implantation.   He is also active in academia and has written widely in peer-reviewed journals and presents regularly at international scientific meetings. He is also accredited by the European Society of Echocardiography for adult congenital heart disease and has written 2 book chapters on echocardiography in congenital heart disease.   Presently, he sub-specialises in the management of patients with heart valve disease and is the co-lead in the TAVI and Mitraclip programmes. He also manages patients with adult congenital heart disease, pulmonary hypertension and those with heart disease in



Was becoming a doctor always been your ambition? I came from a Catholic background and was privileged to receive guidance from my parents, the Lasalle brothers and religious sisters early on in my childhood years. Their focus had always been on doing the best I can and using my gifts for the good of the society. As I grew up and saw what physicians could do, becoming a doctor became much more of a reality. Since my secondary days, I had made it my career choice.


Why the interest to specialise in cardiology? When I completed medical school, I was exposed to varied training and sub-specialties – anaesthesia, oncology, neurology and cardiology. But as I delved deeper in cardiology, I started to see that the treatment effect in heart patients is often very dramatic. I came across very sick patients, who were on the brink of death, restored to the pink of health – rapidly – and returning to their normal routines after treatment. The ability to intervene effectively in these patients is rewarding.

Specialist in Focus

Dr Edgar Tay


You are trained in interventional cardiology. Could you describe this sub-specialty? Interventional cardiology is a sub-specialty of cardiology that utilises mechanical techniques to treat heart conditions. This field includes coronary angioplasty (also referred to as stenting or ballooning) as well as structural heart intervention which treats patients with valve disease. Structural heart intervention is an evolving field. We have been treating patients with congenital heart disease, such as atrial septal defects (hole in the heart), with percutaneous devices for some years. Recently, we have also started to treat many patients with heart valve diseases with transcatheter techniques. Here in NUHCS, our interventional cardiologists work very closely with our cardiac surgeons. It is a team approach where our heart valve team assesses and

decides the best treatment method for every patient.


What are some therapies / procedures that benefit patients with structural heart disease? Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) is one procedure used to treat severe Aortic Stenosis, a condition in which the aortic valve becomes narrowed, obstructing the outflow of blood from the heart and thereby requiring the heart to work harder to pump blood around the body. One of our success stories is an 85-year-old man with severe aortic stenosis and stable lung disease. His surgeons felt that he couldn’t take open heart surgery safely, so TAVI became a suitable option. A typical hospital length of stay for such a procedure is about 5 to 7 days. Some patients might also suffer from mitral regurgitation (or “MR”). It is a

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