Sheffield medics save woman, 77, with new heart surgery

Medics from Sheffield have saved the life of a pensioner by becoming the first in the north of England to perform a groundbreaking type of heart surgery.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 2:27 pm

Interventional radiologists and surgeons at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals used a groundbreaking device that replaces the entire aortic arch without opening the chest.

The cutting-edge procedure has saved the life of Judith Savage, a 77-year-old grandmother from Barnsley. Judith’s options would have otherwise been limited due to her age and poor levels of fitness.

“I would have had no idea that I was ill,” said Judith.

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Surgical procedure saves life of 77-year-old Judith Savage

“I went to the GP as I lost my voice and had a bad cough. The antibiotics cleared my cough but my voice didn’t come back.”

An x-ray revealed that something was not working around her vocal chords and the potentially fatal aneurysm, which can cause uncontrolled internal bleeding within seconds of bursting, was diagnosed through a CT scan.

Since the operation Judith has been recovering well, and can even go to the local shops.

“I would have died if I hadn’t had this procedure. The doctors, nurses and hospital have been fantastic.”

The complex surgery, performed by a skilled team at the Northern General Hospital, involved placing an expandable stent graft into the intricate structures of the aortic arch without the need for major open heart surgery.

Dr Mark Regi, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This was a real team effort that wouldn’t have been possible without every member of the team, and is especially significant given we were able to perform this ground breaking operation during the recent coronavirus pandemic

Dr Stephen Goode, Consultant Interventional Radiologist, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is an excellent example of how clinicians in Sheffield are continuing to push the boundaries of medical and surgical practice, and the fact that we were able to safely care for and treat Judith is an exceptional accomplishment.”