Former nurse praises ‘superb’ care in Cardiac Centre

Jean Wilson recovering from her surgery

A former nurse and midwife, who spent more than forty years working in the NHS has spoken of the ‘superb’ care she received whilst recovering from surgery in the Cardiac Centre at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Seventy-nine-year-old Jean Wilson underwent keyhole (redo) aortic valve surgery this week, and due to advancements in technology was able to be discharged in just five days.  It was the second time that Jean has undergone the aortic valve surgery, but this time the operation was performed via a “keyhole” approach, which is expected to speed up her recovery time.

Jean admits that she is now looking forward to having some fun once she has recovered.

“The care was superb,” Jean said as she reflected on her short time spent in the Cardiac Centre.

“They have definitely looked after me, otherwise I wouldn’t be ready to go home so soon.”

Jean, who worked at St James’s in Leeds and St Luke’s in Bradford, before a longer career as a health visitor was first under the care of Blackpool Victoria Hospital 13 years ago, when consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, Mr Joe Zacharias performed the first procedure. She admits to being delighted that Mr Zacharias was able to replace the valve in her heart all these years later.

“I was getting breathless again, but I didn’t want to carry on with what I called a ‘half-life’, so I was happy when Mr Zacharias said he could replace it again.

“He is very skilled and I couldn’t be more impressed, he has made me feel very special. To actually have the same surgeon, after all that time and actually get back under his care was a great relief.”

Blackpool’s Cardiac Centre is one of the few centres north of London to offer the procedure, and it is normal for patients to expect a replacement valve after ten years due to general wear and tear.

Speaking about the procedure and Jean’s care, Mr Zacharias said: “Over the past five years we have offered this procedure to over a 100 patients and are now offering it to patients having a second procedure.

“As more patients choose to have an animal valve at their first procedure we believe more patients will benefit from this procedure in the coming years. Jean is one of the initial patients having this approach as a second procedure. We are thrilled to see how well she has done and wish her all the best for her recovery at home.

“We can only do these procedures thanks to an excellent team of Anaesthetists, perfusionists and theatre nurses who make these complicated procedures safer with their expertise.

“The management has been very supportive in spending on special instruments that are necessary to make these procedures reproducible.

“These procedures are a good representation of the excellent team work at the Lancashire cardiac centre working for patient benefit.”

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