Revolutionary, life-saving surgery

01 Sep 2021

Maffra resident, Graham Henry, will be forever grateful to the St Vincent’s Cardiology team because they saved his life.

Graham first had issues with his heart back in 1985. He experienced palpitations and was subsequently put on medication to manage the issue. Now 85, Graham had become accustomed to always lacking energy.

“Being a former dairy farmer, I was stubborn and kept doing things I had to do. I play a lot of bowls but some days I couldn’t make it through the day. I wasn’t in any pain, I just didn’t have much energy. It turns out that my heart wasn’t doing its job properly,” Graham said.

Graham would regularly see St Vincent’s Cardiologist, Associate Professor Sonny Palmer, when he came to Sale to visit his regional patients. After being rushed to St Vincent’s to have a pacemaker put in last August, Sonny decided Graham needed another urgent procedure in February this year.

“I had the procedure in the new Cath Lab. They went up through my groin and into my heart to staple the valve together to stop it from leaking.

The Cath Lab enables procedures to be minimally invasive so Graham only needed to spend two days in hospital after his surgery.

“The staff at St Vincent’s always do a wonderful job. They are all so friendly and kind. In fact, they should be all knighted for the incredible work they do. Especially the nurses, they are very special people.”

Image Below: Graham surrounded by his family 

Graham is back to playing bowls and is enjoying spending more time with his 11 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

“I haven’t felt like this for a long time, I feel on top of the world. I now have some much energy, it’s like a new lease on life,” Graham said.

Graham’s daughter, Joanne, said her dad is a different man.

“To the Cardiac team and your generous donors, we thank you for giving us our father, grandfather and great grandfather. Because of St Vincent’s he will get to see them all grow up and achieve great things. That’s pretty special and something we will always cherish,” Joanne said.

State-of-the-art Upgrade

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, St Vincent’s oldest Cath Lab has been upgraded. It is now fitted out with the latest technology and equipment required to provide the best emergency cardiac treatment to the thousands of patients every year. 

Director of Cardiology at St Vincent’s Hospital, Associate Professor Andrew MacIsaac highlighted the vital new pieces equipment. “We have a new x-ray system for superior image resolution and patient monitoring systems. We’re particularly excited about our brand new electrophysiology (EP) system. This will be a game-changer to help people with abnormal heart rhythms and those needing a pacemaker.”

The new equipment will enable the integration of images - from ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs, and the ability to superimpose images displaying different conditions, to precisely place valves within a millimetre of the correct position, resulting in better outcomes for patients.

Left image: Associate Professor Andrew MacIsaac and his team perform a surgery in the Cath Lab 

Right image:  L to R - St Vincent's Cardiac surgeons , Associate Professor Sonny Palmer and Professor Rob Whitbourn

These state of the art facilities mean the team can before previously impossible procedures, such as the TAVI, mitral valve procedure – which is an alternative for open heart surgery, especially for patients who are high risk cases and not well enough to withstand open heart surgery.

“Our new Cath Lab equipment and our new procedures places St Vincent’s cardiology as a leader in the treatment of heart patients in Victoria.

“We’re so grateful to all your donors for enabling us to continue to pioneer leading treatment for heart patients,” Andrew said.

Click here if you would like to support St Vincent's Cardiology team.



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