Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Pioneering op saves life of 100th patient
SHE is one of 100, but feels like one in a million.
Monica Tansey was one of the first people in the UK to undergo a life-saving operation at the John Radcliffe Hospital in 2008.
Now the hospital is celebrating its 100th successful transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), which was completed in the last week.
Only 25 hospitals in the UK can carry out the operation, which involves complex keyhole heart surgery.
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) allows cardiologists to replace the aortic valve through a tube, which is inserted using keyhole techniques into either a blood vessel at the top of the leg or through a small incision between the ribs into the apex of the heart. Via this tube, a replacement value is positioned and deployed in place of the faulty valve, negating the need for open heart surgery.
The Kidlington resident has joined in with the celebrations and told how surgeons saved her life.
After a heart attack in 1975 she had a stent inserted into a blocked artery but after moving to Oxford in 2001 her health deteriorated further.
By September 2008, after the death of her husband, it was clear she needed an aortic valve replacement – a procedure usually performed as open-heart surgery.
Just four days after the keyhole op Mrs Tansey was able to go home feeling better than ever.
The 75-year-old said: “It was like dying and being reborn. I don’t remember much about the operation but I remember it was like I was a completely new person. I had watched my husband die – for 14 months he was ill, he contracted motor-neurone disease and I had to watch him suffer.
“I still miss him now. He died and then I fell ill and my life fell apart. I knew at the time it was a new operation and there were some risks involved. But when I came round I could breathe properly again for the first time in years.
“That Christmas, the one I wasn’t expected to see, I even joined my family for a walk to the pub for a drink after lunch.”
Mrs Tansey now spends her days with her friends at the retirement complex Homewell House in The Moors.
She also visits her son Timothy, who runs The Plough Inn in Upper Wolvercote.
The procedure in open heart surgery is normally performed by a team of five specialists supported by an expert team under general anaesthesia. Patients are usually in hospital for three to eight days.
Recovery after TAVI is much more rapid and the procedure relieves a patient’s symptoms, increases life expectancy and improves quality of life.
Dr Bernard Prendergast, consultant cardiologist and cardiology clinical director at the John Radcliffe Hospital, performed the first TAVI at the hospital. He said: “TAVI is the most significant development in interventional cardiology in the past decade and can transform the lives of patients with severe aortic valve disease who are too frail or ill to undergo open heart surgery.”