Grantham woman undergoes major heart surgery in new BBC TV documentary


A woman’s major heart operation from Grantham is due to air in a new series of a medical documentary on BBC Two.

‘Surgeons: At the Edge of Life’ will go behind the scenes of the operating rooms at Royal Papworth Hospital, a world-renowned Cambridge-based heart and lung hospital that treats patients from across eastern England, including Lincolnshire.

In Episode 1, which airs tomorrow (Thursday, November 11) at 9 p.m., Verity Connor, 33 at the time of filming, will undergo life-saving surgery on her aorta, the body’s main artery.

Connor Truth. (52997456)

Her aorta has almost doubled in size due to a female-only genetic condition called Turner syndrome, which affects about one in 2,000 girls.

Verity, a receptionist, said, “I was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome when I was five years old.

“It’s an inherited disease and it means you only have one normal X sex chromosome instead of the usual two.

Delighted with Silva (52997475)
Delighted with Silva (52997475)

“As a result, my aorta enlarged and was at risk of fatally rupturing.”

In the episode, Verity’s surgeon, Mr. Ravi de Silva, has to replace his diseased section of the aorta with a synthetic section. At the same time, he wants to save his aortic valve rather than putting in a mechanical one, which would entail higher risks. However, this means a much more complex procedure.

Mr. de Silva said: “Every operation has its challenges, but in Verity’s case, the real skill is fixing the valve in her heart rather than just replacing it. If the repair is not perfect, the surgical team faces another long and complicated procedure to rectify the problem and may eventually have to admit its defeat and replace the valve.

“The reason for wanting to repair rather than replace is that there is a higher risk of infection from a foreign body such as a mechanical heart valve.

“It would also mean for Verity a lifetime of taking the blood thinner warfarin, which wouldn’t be ideal for someone so young.”

Verity added: “I had to trust the wonderful team at Royal Papworth Hospital to be able to live worry-free again. You’ll have to watch the episode to see how things go.


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