Four days after heart surgery involving a ground-breaking technique 82-year-old Freemason Michael Lynas was on his feet and taking part in a meeting of St Godric Lodge in Spalding.
He’s one of the first patients in the UK to have a heart operation using diamonds to help correct an abnormal heart rhythm.
Michael has a history of heart problems, since 2019 has had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator being fitted.
He has a condition in which the lower chamber of the heart can too fast to pump blood effectively, meaning the body does not receive enough oxygenated blood.
He said: “My ICD has gone off twice since it was fitted three years ago – it allows me to carry on with my life knowing that I have a device that will shock my heart back into life if needed.
“However, day-to-day I still suffered with an abnormal and fast heart rate and that left me feeling dizzy quite a lot of the time, but since having the ablation performed by Dr Martin and her team my heart has been back in a normal rhythm.
“I can feel the difference inside myself and it gives me an inner confidence I did not have before. I may be 82, but I like to stay active and get out, so this makes such a huge difference to my quality of life.
“This is all thanks to this new technology, combined with the brilliant treatment I have received at Royal Papworth Hospital. I cannot speak highly enough of the care I have received from everyone at the hospital.
“I find it quite amazing that, at the age of 82, I can be given a general anaesthetic, undergo an ablation and then be walking and talking in my room within an hour or two.”
What was the procedure?
Under the leadership of consultant cardiologist Dr Claire Martin at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge part of his heart was frozen to create scar tissue, breaking the faulty electrical circuit with the aim of restoring a normal rhythm.
Dr Martin explained the team used a catheter containing industrial grade diamonds in the tip, enhancing patient safety and potentially leading to shorter procedure times. “Cooling the cardiac tissue during an ablation is vital in order to be able to deliver sufficient energy to the tissue and to prevent char building up on the tip of the catheter.
“This new technology makes the procedures safer because less saline infusion is needed to cool down a diamond catheter compared with platinum which is usually used. This is important in patients with heart failure because fluid can easily build up in the lungs, so we want to use as little fluid as possible. By using diamonds instead of platinum, we are able to use up to 50% less saline.
“It also provides quicker, more effective cooling, which helps to reduce procedure times and in turn allows us to perform more ablations each day.”