A Fleckney woman who was struggling to walk due to her heart condition has become the first person in the UK to undergo a pioneering operation.
Elizabeth Rowland has seen her quality of life improved after a tiny implant measuring just 23mm was fitted inside her heart to repair a dysfunctional valve.
The pioneering system gives surgeons improved control of the valve throughout the key-hole procedure.
It enables increased precision and the ability to reposition or retrieve the valve, even after insertion if necessary.
Mrs Rowland could barely walk before the surgery, but having recovered extremely well since her procedure in November, is now able to walk around freely.
The Lotus Valve System was used in Mrs Rowland’s transcatheter aortic valve implants procedure to treat aortic stenosis.
The 84-year-old was not aware that she was going to be a medical pioneer, but is now extremely grateful to the team that operated on her.
The Lotus Valve System is less invasive than open heart surgery and because of this it does not even require general anaesthetic and so Mrs Rowland was fully conscious throughout the procedure.
Mrs Rowland told the Mail this week: “I’m so pleased to have had this operation – it has given me a new lease of life.
“I can move about more and I don’t need quite so much medication. The care I received was excellent too, everyone was lovely.
“I’m pleased to be one of the first in the UK to have this procedure.”
She had the operation at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester where people from multiple specialities, including the cardiology team, cardiac surgeons, radiology team, nurses and anaesthetic support team, worked closely together to carry it out.
Dr Jan Kovac, a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield, said: “It is great to be part of the first team in the UK to successfully use the Lotus Valve System.
“This is further recognition of the work done by the pioneering cardiac team at Glenfield Hospital.”
Aortic stenosis is a life-threatening condition where thickening and stiffening in the heart prevents it from opening and closing properly.
It affects about three per cent of the population over the age of 65 and five per cent of those older than 75.
Dr Kovac added: “This new generation of key-hole surgery further expands options for future patients.
“Until recently, there were no or very limited options to help those with this life-limiting condition, who are considered inoperable or too high risk for cardiac surgery.”
Mrs Rowland said: “Before I was struggling to walk around because I would get too short of breath and my legs were very weak.
“It is just nice to feel better.
“I can now go around the supermarket.
“I’m so happy that they chose me. I’m very thankful.”
The Lotus Valve System was developed and produced by medical solutions company, Boston Scientific.
It employs an adaptive seal feature designed to minimise paravalvular leakage, a complication associated with implantation of a prosthetic heart valve, one of the main causes of death in the procedure.
Its use in Mrs Rowland’s operation was the first commercial implant of the valve in the UK following its CE mark approval last October.