My name is Paul. I’m a healthy, active, 20-something year old who plays contact sports, happily runs 10k once a week and goes to the gym every other day.

Less than 6 months ago I had open-heart surgery to fit me with a Personalised External Aortic Root Support in order to deal with my dilated aorta.

I don’t have Marfan Syndrome, but I knew for a number of years that my aorta was dilating and was getting more dilated

by the year. When I was told last autumn that I needed an operation it was a shock, but as soon as I heard about the PEARS approach I was reassured and convinced that it was the right thing to do.

The operation came around quickly, even though it was a good few months between being told I was to have the operation and the date of the procedure. During this time I met my surgeon and Tal and knew I was in very safe hands: if you don’t like and trust Tal, there is probably something wrong with you!

Having had the operation I woke up the following morning in intensive care feeling very groggy and extremely thirsty! My time in hospital was actually surprisingly comfortable and the pain, although fairly intense in the first few days, quickly subsided. I left after a week, having had a bit of a temperature, but was well enough to walk out of the hospital.

From that point onwards my progress was good. I was able to start going for walks after a week or two and was able to walk for several miles within 10 or so days after that. After 4 weeks I was able to start cycling every day to build my fitness back up, and after 8 weeks I started running, albeit slowly! After 12 weeks I was able to go to the gym and take part in contact sports again and felt well enough to go back to work. During this time the pain was minimal (discomfort being the most accurate description) and I felt that I could make some small amount of progress in my recovery every single day.

Six months on, I’m almost at the same level of fitness that I was before and thoroughly enjoyed the three months I had off. I’m so very glad that I’ve had the surgery and could not have had better care and attention from my surgeon, Tal and all the medical staff involved in the process. They were all unbelievable. Thank you for everything, it’s very much appreciated.

Year of operation: 2013