Heart surgery has come a long way since the early days in 1960…
Sixty years ago, Diane Diane Barker was one of the first patients to undergo open heart surgery using the newly invented heart-lung machine, now regularly used to take over the function of the heart and lungs during surgery.
Diane had a general anaesthetic before being placed in an ice bath to cool her body down to 25 degrees, protecting her brain and other vital organs. This cooling is now also done by the heart-lung machine.
“Everyone thought I was going to die. I remember one of my mum’s friends asking me to be their bridesmaid because they didn’t think I’d get another chance.”
The operation in 1960, by surgeon Mr Ben Milstein, was to fix a large hole in the centre of her heart when cardiac surgery was in its infancy.
Diane has had regular ablations at Royal Papworth Hospital in the time since to correct her irregular heart rhythms but recently underwent heart surgery again, this time performed by Mr Frank Wells, to repair a problem with one of her heart valves.
“I’m very grateful to all the staff at Royal Papworth Hospital who have looked after me all of these years.”
Diane follows us Heart Heroes and often gives words of wisdom and love. Thank you Diane.
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