Smallfield patient survives ‘world first’ heart operation in Brighton


A patient has thanked surgeons who performed a ‘world first’ heart procedure which saved his life.

Cardiologists at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) fitted Michael Amos, 67 with an extra-large stent after he had heart attack at his home in Smallfield.

Doctors said Mr Amos only had a 20 per cent chance of survival before the operation.

“I would be dead now without it and I am extremely grateful to the doctors,” he said. “Luckily I was in the right place at the right time.”

A stent is a tube made of flexible wire that is placed in blocked arteries to open them up and let blood flow into the heart.

Stents used for heart procedures usually expand to 4mm but the one used for Mr Amos can go to 5.5mm, meaning patients who have blocked larger arteries in their heart have a better chance of survival.

Pam Amos, Michael’s wife, gave him CPR with the help of her neighbours.

“I heard a crash in the bathroom and went to see what had happened and found him face down on the floor, gasping for breath,” she said.

“I called the ambulance and I am a first aider at work so I know what to do but I couldn’t get him onto his back to start the CPR and I had to get my neighbours to help me.

“When we got back he had actually died, he was not breathing and his face was blue.

“We started CPR and thankfully there was a gasp and he started breathing. The ambulance arrived and they took over from there and were amazing. We were so lucky that he was able to go to Brighton and have the procedure and we feel so fortunate that he was there.

“What they did was incredible, it saved his life and we cannot thank them enough.”

Mr Amos was taken to East Surrey Hospital to be stabilised, before being transferred to Brighton for the operation.

Consultant Cardiologist Dr David Hildick-Smith, who performed the operation along with Consultant Cardiologist Dr James Cockburn, said Mr Amos was in the ‘right place at the right time’.

He said: “We had originally planned to use the stent on another patient and it turned out on the day that it was not possible but, as luck would have it, Mr Amos came into us at exactly the same time so we decided to use it with him instead as he was a suitable patient.”

“He was very ill and had a condition that about eight out of ten people do not survive, so he was very much in the right place at the right time.”

BSUH were first to use the new stent because the Trust is part of a European study.

The stent is known as a ‘drug eluting’ stent because it is covered in a drug to stop the body rejecting it.

Dr Hildick-Smith said: “It is very exciting for us to be asked to be the first centre in the world to implant the stent.

“The company that makes it even flew an engineer from America to be with us for the implant.

“It is a privilege for us to be using it and there is a huge sense of achievement for the Trust.”

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