A 91-year-old from Goosnargh has become one of the oldest people in the North West to benefit from heart surgery involving a new state of the art approach undertaken by experts at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre in Blackpool.
Joseph Baines, a former fireman, and NHS employee, underwent a new procedure at the centre which is the only one in the north of England offering the pioneering new minimally invasive surgery, called Anterior Right Thoracotomy (ART) to replace a faulty Aortic valve.
And he is delighted with the results.
Joseph, who is approaching his 92nd birthday,.said: “I’ve always been pretty fit and every day I walk from my house to the shop to get a paper but a few months ago I was beginning to get a bit out of breathe doing the walk and I thought it was a bit strange.
“I went to the GP and after seeing a specialist Dr Sarfraz Khan, I was told I would need a new valve in my heart which came as a bit of a shock I have to admit.
“But I needn’t have worried as my surgeon, Mr Joe Zacharias, and his team have been wonderful.
“I couldn’t have had any better treatment if I was royalty and I can’t believe how neat everything looks.
“I thought I was going to have to be cut open but there is a tiny scar and you wouldn’t know I’d had anything done. It’s brilliant what they do here and I am amazed how well everything has gone.’’
Mr Zacharias said: “The least invasive way to replace an aortic valve is through this new technique known as the anterior right thoracotomy (ART), which is performed through a two inch opening next to the breast bone.
“The ART procedure has a lower risk of blood loss and infection because you don’t open the breast bone up but there is a small chance that during the operation the breast bone may need to be opened in case of complications.
“With that in mind we don’t normally do this type of surgery on someone Joe’s age because there are risks that we have to weigh up in terms of how patients will recover from the operation.
“Generally patients of this age are sent for a Trans Catheter Valve Implantation (TAVI) but the TAVI results are unknown past three or four years. If a patient has an outlook beyond that timeframe we still offer a surgical solution as it deals with removing the faulty valve at the time of the operation.”
He added: “Mr Baines is amazingly fit and that helped us decide that this was the right thing to do for him and we are delighted with the results.
“We are very proud to say that the Lancashire Cardiac Centre is the only place in the north of England to provide this operation.
“It requires an expert team of Anaesthetists, Perfusionists and nurses to make this procedure safe and we are lucky to have all of them here in Blackpool.
“We at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre have an older population to treat and these innovations are helping us offer procedures safely to this age group.
“The centre is regarded as one of the most innovative in the country and this type of pioneering operation from its dedicated staff can only help to enhance that reputation.’’