Patient Stories

In December 2017 I was diagnosed as having mitral valve prolapse with severe blood regurgitation backing into the heart. I had no symptoms other than tiredness.

Two London-based cardiologist at the Royal Free, Hampstead, recommended surgery as soon as possible – I was shocked and a little disorientated.

I was recommended by one of the cardiologists for surgery at St Barts and via a friend to the Sir John Henry Moore in Oxford

Consultations followed at these hospitals with their lead surgeons both of whom recommended traditional open heart (via the sternum) surgery i.e. by opening the front of the chest.

One of the surgeons proposed an option of waiting – having researched this I dismissed this approach as the condition of the heart would simply worsen and a “watch and wait” study in the USA reported an annual 4% mortality rate.

Having had keyhole surgery on both knees I asked if this style of operation was a possibility; both surgeons recommended the more traditional route of surgery i.e. via the sternum and one of the surgeons warned of inexperienced surgeons offering minimally invasive surgery with poor outcomes.

A family member researched keyhole / minimally invasive heart operation and found a video shot by the BBC of Mr Paul Modi – lead surgeon at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital performing minimally invasive surgery on a mitral valve – see on You Tube.

The following day I called Mr Modi and that afternoon Mr Modi had returned my call and over the phone I knew I had my surgeon – whilst it was a telephone call I can only say that Mr Modi’s “bedside / telephone manner” had me and for the first time in this process I felt at ease and in the “right hands”.

I did check the mitral valve operations completed by both southern-based surgeons and from my understanding from the publicly-reported data on the SCTS website, Mr Modi had performed nearly double the amount of the mitral valve repairs of the southern-based surgeons combined.

Notwithstanding this my wife had a close friend who was married to a leading cardiologist in New York, USA. I rang and asked his opinion and my decision was supported – his response was that “if one of his patients was eligible then with an experienced surgeon he would not hesitate to recommend the minimally invasive route over the sternum”.

I met Mr Modi in Liverpool where Mr Modi spent one and a half hours answering my many questions. The operation was scheduled swiftly and completed successfully and I left the hospital 5 days after surgery.

Unfortunately, approximately two weeks later my groin became infected where the bypass equipment had been in-situ. This was very bad luck with a 1-2% possibility of infection and was promptly dealt with at the Hospital requiring a further two-week stay for some antibiotics.

However, I can only say that the attention I received from Mr Modi and the whole Team throughout the process both for the operation and dealing with the infection was outstanding. I would have no hesitation in recommending that anyone requiring heart surgery must seriously consider minimally invasive surgery as part of their decision-making process and in my opinion at Liverpool Heat and Chest Hospital.

It was not just Mr Modi’s experience and success rate but his empathy, approach, and confidence in dealing with me as a patient that made me feel most comfortable.

This communication manner was reflected across the various members of Mr Modi’s very special Team at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital – individuals that made a real difference in their attitude and personal interaction when caring for me – the Theatre Operating Team, in the Intensive Care Unit, on The Maple Ward, and finally with the Tissue Viability Consultant Nurses.

I will never forget and couldn’t be more grateful for those individuals’ professional dedication in getting me better.

I made the right decision with whom and where I had this surgery performed.

Finally, I can only repeat a very big thank you to those who looked after me.