Ted’s New Lease on Life

 In Patient Stories

At the age of 82, Ted could not even walk eight steps without extreme shortness of breath and having to stop to catch his breath. Over the past nine years his aortic stenosis (narrowing of the major cardiac valve between the heart and the aorta) was so severely narrowed that he could not do simple things such as move around the house or walk to the bus stop down the street. Having had heart bypass surgery at the age of 76 and now being 82 years old, he was told he was not suitable for repeat conventional open heart surgery to replace his heart valve; he was ‘too high risk.’

Ted and his wife Vin

Despite terrible aches and pains and needing replacement of both knees and hips (“too much rowing as a young man” says Ted) Ted’s orthopaedic surgeon “would not touch” him as his heart valve was performing so poorly he would die on the operating table – “we want to be able to wake you up after your surgery” said his hip surgeon.

It was his initial heart specialist Professor Ian Meredith who told him about the new heart valve replacement procedure via a large artery in the groin that did not require a major cut down the middle of the chest nor weeks of rehabilitation. “I had many special tests to see if I was suitable; from an angiogram to a cardiac CT, to be told the fantastic news that I was suitable”, said Ted. “It was unbelievable that my heart valve could be replaced through the groin, with a new type of expanding valve that crushed my old faulty valve out of the way and started working immediately.” “I am so much better today, life is worth living.” “Six weeks ago I had my left hip replaced and I hope to get my right hip replaced soon – an operation I was told only a few months ago I would not survive!” “My wife Vin and I are now planning our next trip to Darwin, where we go for four months each year and have done so for over 20 years since my retirement as an engineer for CSIRO.”

Ted represented Italy in international rowing and says “look after your body when you are young, you are going to need it for a long time.” Ted is a life member of the Mercantile Rowing Club, a 130 year old rowing club on the Yarra River opposite Birrarung Marr Park and while he considers himself “too old to row” now “I leave that to the young ones”, he still takes an active interest in the club.

“Siobhan, my cardiologist and Steve who performed my heart ultrasounds were particularly fantastic…and Dr Paul…they all have been so patient and thoughtful.” “In fact the whole team was wonderful I couldn’t praise them enough.” “Professor Meredith has made MonashHeart what it is today with a full and very capable team around him; from great nurses to caring doctors” said Ted. “I could not fault anyone, from the cleaner who cleaned my room each morning trying not to disturb me, to the gentle nurses on night duty.” They were all brilliant; I would recommend MonashHeart to everyone.”

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