A Bolton mum-of-two with a growing hole in her heart has opened up about the ‘unbelievable feeling’ of being back with her family after receiving an ‘incredibly rare’ procedure.
The double lung and heart transplant was the first at Wythenshawe’s University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM) in 15 years, and one of less than ten carried out across the country every year.
Pauline Ginn, 54, had the eight-hour life-saving operation back in April by the hospital’s internationally renowned transplant team, and is now back home after a seven-week stay.
“I was born with a hole in my heart, which doctors at the time thought would close over time,” said Pauline, mum to children Emma, 28, and Adam, 16.
“As a child at school, I would get out breath so easily – but I thought everyone was the same.
“When I was in my early 20s, doctors found the hole had grown with me – and the right side of my heart had been over-compensating for this defect for 23 years.”
As a result of the defect, Pauline developed heart disease and was later diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension.
She underwent open-heart surgery at UHSM in 1983 to try to close the hole in her heart, and was also a patient at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital, who specialise in treatment for her condition.
‘INCREDIBLY PRESTIGIOUS’: Surgeon Mr Venkateswaran said the procedure is particularly rare, both for the hospital and nationally
But back in January this year, things took a turn for the worse and Pauline was overcome with a series of debilitating chest infections, with the most recent leaving her hospitalised for three months.
“I was on a knife-edge. I was put on the transplant list for a double lung and heart transplant and in April I received the call,” she said.
“Even though this was an incredibly daunting prospect, my family were right behind me and knew this was my only option.
“Before the transplant I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t go anywhere. I was basically housebound, out of breath constantly and on oxygen full time.
“I’ve still got a long way to go in my recovery and I’ve have had quite a few set-backs, but to be back at home now with my family is just unbelievable and it’s onwards and upwards.”
UHSM is one of just five adult heart-lung transplant centres in the UK, with the hospital last year undertaking its 1,000th transplant procedure.
Consultant cardiac surgeon Mr Rajamiyer Venkateswaran, who carried out the procedure with his team of 12, said; “Nationally, only a handful of heart and lung transplants are performed, so this is incredibly prestigious for UHSM.
“These types of transplants are carried out so rarely so I’m incredibly proud of our team here at UHSM and delighted to see Pauline is now at home recovering with her family.”
Images courtesy of UHSM, with thanks