St Ives man undergoes pioneering heart treatment

Mark Hudson recovering at the Royal Papworth

Mark Hudson recovering from his pioneering heart treatment at the Royal Papworth Hospital - Credit: Wayne R Martin

A farmer from St Ives has become one of the first patients to benefit from an innovatory procedure to tackle a previously untreatable heart condition.

Mark Hudson, 63, had a long history of heart trouble and his angina was continuing to get worse when he was fitted with a coronary sinus reducer at the Royal Papworth Hospital.

The hospital has launched the service for patients across the region who have refractory angina, a condition which could not be treated before.

Mr Hudson said: "I had a quadruple heart bypass operation more than 20 years ago, had a heart attack in 2013 and have since then had nine stents fitted. I am also on the maximum drugs I can be, but despite all of this my angina has continued to get progressively worse.

“I have been a farmer for 40 years, but I have gradually had to scale back what I can do and by lunchtime most days I am unable to do anything more because my chest pain is so bad.

“I am very grateful to the team at Royal Papworth Hospital for launching this new service. It is exciting to think that my symptoms will be less severe and I can look forward to a better quality of life.”

Angina is chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscles and its symptoms can be controlled with bypass surgery, the insertion of stents, or medication to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke,  allowing the patient to live a largely normal life.

Most Read

But refractory angina  is when all these options have been exhausted and the patient still has long-lasting symptoms, leading to increased pain and breathlessness, affecting quality of life.

The coronary sinus reducer, which involves  cardiology teams inserting - via the neck - a small, stainless-steel, hourglass-shaped device into the main vein carrying blood out of the heart,  narrowing the sinus, elevating the pressure and helping to redistribute blood to where it is needed most,  now offers new hope to these patients.

Mr Hudson was one of three patients at the Royal Papworth on whom the procedure has now been performed successfully by a team including cardiologists, nurses, radiographers and cardiac physiologists.

Dr Stephen Hoole,  consultant cardiologist, said: “We are delighted to bring this new service to Royal Papworth Hospital to relieve symptoms for patients in the Eastern region with persistent angina pain.”

“People with refractory angina have historically been a difficult patient group to treat, but initial results when using this device show that it improves angina for most patients who can expect a better quality of life."

He said: “While this is not a total cure for refractory angina, it is an important step forward in the treatment of this debilitating condition.

“I would like to thank the team for all their hard work and ensuring that Royal Papworth Hospital becomes one of the first centres to offer this pioneering treatment.” 

“I would also like to extend my thanks to Dr Ranil De Silva from Royal Brompton and Harefield in London, where the treatment has also recently been introduced, who came to supervise our team through the first few cases.

“We hope this will be a successful new service for the East of England region.”