A PATIENT'S VIEWPOINT
Mitral heart valve repair surgery which is carried out robotically
I really can't thank Paul and all in the staff involved with the operation enough. Everyone was just great before, during and after the operation. I don't think I was the world's best patient the night after the operation but everyone was just so understanding and so caring. The treatment that I have had at both the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and at the 'Royal' just can't be faulted and everyone I have spoken has said that we are so lucky to live in a city with two hospitals that are staffed by such amazing people and I wholeheartedly agreed with them.
I had my mitral valve repair surgery carried out robotically in the summer of 2018 at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in Broadgreen, Liverpool having been referred there by one of the consultants at the Royal Liverpool Hospital following my earlier admission to it.
I was admitted to the “Royal” by my local nurse practitioner and GP following a concern I raised with them about becoming short of breath at work where I am involved in teaching sport. I was further concerned because I was also becoming short of breath just walking around my local supermarket. Such a thing seemed to be totally out of character for me as I do consider that I keep myself quite fit and active.
My admission to the hospital
The last thing I expected to happen after my visit to the nurse practitioner was that I would be ambulance in to the hospital for further checks and that the following day after a heart scan that I would be told I would not be going home and that I had a heart valve that was not functioning properly. What I was really hoping would happen was that I would be told I had a flu virus and that I would be given some tablets and told to go home!
I have never had to stay in the hospital before and yes I will admit that my admission to the hospital did fill me with a sense of foreboding as all of us no matter who we are will always have a fear of the unknown and I am certainly no exception. Yes I have had to take relatives to hospital and I have visited them in hospital but at the end of the day I have always been able to go home to my own bed so yes the thought of staying in hospital was pretty scary.
The diagnosis of my condition
After being admitted to the hospital and having undergone a series of tests, the consultant who was in charge of my case said that one of my heart valves needed repairing and that in their opinion it could be suitable for it to be repaired robotically using a new method that has only recently been introduced and which is being successfully used at the Liverpool Heat and Chest hospital.
The robotic heart surgery
Three main points stood out for me when the consultant was explaining the robotic heart repair surgery to me and they were that the recovery time is quicker, it is less invasive and that it could be likened to key hole surgery and that the patients who undergo the robotic surgery can be discharged from the hospital earlier.
To me hearing of such points was almost music to my ears as it would hopefully mean that I could get home quicker and recover there because as they always say there is no place like home and I had absolutely no fears of concerns about the operation being done robotically. The only real concern that I did have was that the surgeon and the operating team would find that on the day they could not use that method!
I will admit to finding the first night after the operation quite hard going but I am sure that it is the same for everyone who has any major operation. The next day however I was really amazed when the nursing staff said that they were going to get me up out of bed and sit me in a chair and then later in the day that I would be walking around the ward. That is exactly what happened and the same happened the next day. On the following day I was moved to a recovery ward and then two days later I was at home! I was totally amazed at the progress I had made just in those few days.
Since arriving home I have followed the post operation guidance notes that the hospital gives out and I will continue to do so. I have also had a check up by local GP as advised by the hospital in their guidance notes. The healing process continues and I continue to be amazed at how well it is going.
If you are going to have the operation…..
By far the hardest thing for me was being in hospital waiting for the operation to happen and certainly not the operation or the tests that preceded it. The operation was certainly worth waiting for though and I am so pleased that the nurse practitioner and GP sent me to the hospital for further checks and that I ended up having the operation done.