John Bell celebrated his 89th birthday at home a week after having a leaky heart valve fixed.
He had leading edge keyhole surgery to thank for his brief stay at Blackpool hospital’s Lancashire Cardiac Centre.
The retired engineer from St Annes was a keen gardener until increasing breathlessness caused by a leaking heart valve put a stop to him tending his plants.
“I was feeling down and very short of breath and didn’t want to go anywhere,” he said. “But five days after my operation, I realised I was breathing rather than gasping, and able to take long breaths.”
John’s consultant, cardio-thoracic surgeon Mr Joseph Zacharias, said: “We don’t do this operation for many patients of John’s age but we were all very impressed with his attitude to life and motivation to get better.
“At one time, fixing a heart valve involved open chest surgery which would be riskier at John’s age. Our minimal-access surgical technique takes three-to-four hours and involves small incisions in the chest and groin, and a high-definition 3D camera to guide the procedure inside the heart.
“John has made great progress and we’re delighted to see him going back home to live independently.”
The cardiac team at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre have been leaders in offering these innovative procedures to patients and were recently highlighted by the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research (NICOR) for offering them to high numbers of patients despite the pressures of the pandemic.
“These excellent results cannot be achieved without support from a forward-thinking management team and the many excellent staff in cardiac theatres, cardiac intensive care and on the wards who are all doing a difficult job despite facing unprecedented pressures,” said Mr Zacharias.