Norwich granny to undergo major heart surgery on BBC2 tomorrow

Gertrude Pike will have open heart surgery performed on her by Narain Moorjani on BBC2 tomorrow.

Gertrude Pike will have open heart surgery performed on her by Narain Moorjani on BBC2 tomorrow. - Credit: NHS

A Norwich grandmother’s open heart operation is to be shown on BBC Two as part of a medical documentary series.

‘Surgeons: At the Edge of Life’ will go behind the scenes of operating theatres at Royal Papworth Hospital, a world-leading heart and lung hospital based in Cambridge, treating patients from across the East of England.

In episode two, to be broadcast on Thursday, November 18, at 9pm, Gertrude Pike, an 80 year-old grandmother-of-two from Norwich, will have surgery at Royal Papworth on three of the four valves in her heart.

An irregular heartbeat has caused two of the valves to stretch and become defective, affecting the blood flow around her body.

The third valve has become so hardened and blocked that it is restricting blood flowing out of the heart and needs to be replaced.

Without the operation, Ms Pike’s heart will fail.

To operate on the valves, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Mr Narain Moorjani and his team will put Ms Pike on a heart-lung bypass machine, cool her body to just 28 celsius and stop her heart.

Gertrude Pike will have open heart surgery performed on her by Narain Moorjani on BBC2 tomorrow.

Gertrude Pike will have open heart surgery performed on her by Narain Moorjani on BBC2 tomorrow. - Credit: NHS

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The bypass machine will take over the job of circulating and oxygenating Gertrude’s blood.

But with an elderly patient like Ms Pike, being on bypass is a great strain on the body, so Mr Moorjani and his team will need to work swiftly.

Mr Moorjani said: “In the episode we are operating on three of Gertrude’s four valves, and the fourth valve is rarely touched in adults, so this is as complex as it gets for heart valve surgery.

“I am lucky to be working alongside a skilled and talented team in theatre who work together every step of the way, and we hope that comes across in the programme. We are very grateful to Gertrude and her family for being part of this series.”

Ms Pike added: “I am very grateful to Mr Moorjani and the whole team at Royal Papworth Hospital for looking after me before, during and after my operation earlier this year. It was an honour to be asked to be filmed and I hope everyone enjoys the episode.”

If you missed it the episode will also be available on BBC IPlayer.

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