Jeff Wain, 73, from Malvern was due to have a knee operation until tests revealed he had a heart condition. In February 2021, Jeff was one of the first patients at Spire Bristol to have a TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation).

“I have been treated at Spire Bristol for many years by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr James Murray for a knee problem.

The last procedure I had was a partial knee replacement, knowing in time I would need a full replacement due to arthritis.

In 2020 my knee began to cause me further discomfort so I contacted Mr Murray’s Secretary and booked an outpatient appointment.

During this I had a series of tests which revealed that I had a large cyst in the knee joint and this would need to be operated on.

Just before I went down to surgery the anaesthetist identified a heart problem and a Cardiologist was immediately called. Mr Murray said that hopefully once I had been examined he would move me to the end of the list. However, when Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Mark Turner examined me he advised that the operation could not go ahead as planned.

At this point I was very shocked. I had no symptoms and was in excellent health. I was not overweight, exercised regularly and enjoyed an active life travelling widely. The hardest thing was having to phone my wife and tell her that I was not having the knee operation as planned, and what is more a heart problem had been detected which needed further investigation.

Within 5 days of returning home I had had an online consultation with Dr Turner who explained that he thought I had a bicuspid valve problem, which was probably hereditary and asked if there was anyone else in my family with the same problem.

When we looked into this, we found my maternal uncle had the same problem, but experienced symptoms and subsequently had an operation in 1991.

Mr Turner explained to me in detail that I would need further tests and if it was as he suspected, I would need an operation. I was not keen to have open heart surgery and so wondered about the possibility of a keyhole procedure.

I explored this further and found that Mr Turner was very experienced in carrying out TAVI procedures and I decided that this was the route I wanted to take. I had various tests at Spire Bristol and Mr Turner agreed that I was a suitable candidate.

TAVI is a non-surgical alternative to open heart surgery which involves inserting a catheter containing a replacement valve through a small cut in the groin, chest or top part of the shoulder.   

I was told that Spire Bristol was beginning to offer this procedure and I booked this for Monday 8 February 2021.

As my procedure got closer, I had a phone consultation with the Cardiology Manager, Mimi. She spent a long time going over the protocols in place for my safety and the procedure itself, which put mine and my wife's mind totally at rest.

Three days before the procedure I had a Covid-19 test and further blood tests as part of a Pre-Operative Assessment. On the day of the procedure my wife dropped me off at the door at 7am.

Mine was the first procedure of the day so I didn't have to wait long. I was given an introduction by the nurse and was seen by Dr Turner and the anaesthetist and was then prepared for the procedure. I walked down to the Cardiac Cath Lab and there were lots of staff present to look after me so I felt very reassured.

I was given a local anaesthetic which meant I was awake throughout the procedure and able to converse with staff. I had a slight complication in having arrhythmia when in recovery, but this was rectified with drugs. I was then taken to Intensive Care where I spent two nights.

During this time, I was not in any pain or discomfort and was able to enjoy a full evening meal. I spent the time reading and was constantly monitored on a one-to-one basis.

After this I was then moved onto the Ward where I spent a further night being monitored. I was checked again by Mr Turner before being discharged and was given a heart monitor to be used two weeks prior to the follow up consultation.

I left hospital feeling fine and have had no problems since except for slight light-headedness occasionally. For the first 4 weeks post procedure I wore a heart monitor and my progress was reviewed by Dr Turner six weeks after.

I have since had my knee operation with Mr Murray and am on the mend.

So I went in with a knee problem and came out with a heart condition! However, Mr Turner has since told me how lucky I have been in being diagnosed and treated early as without this, it could have had serious consequences.”

What our patients say