Richard Morris

My name is Richard Morris.

When I was in my early thirties, what was thought to be a rheumatic heart murmur was found to be a congenital bicuspid aorta. This can cause enlargement of both the valve and artery over time. I regularly visited my cardiologist to monitor for changes. No changes were detected until I was in my late sixties. I had developed an Aortic Aneurysm. I am now almost 70 years old and fortunately my local hospital was recently accredited to undertake the PEARS procedures. I believe I was the sixth to receive it in the southern hemisphere and at the time the oldest. My aortic valve was not replaced though.

I was admitted on the 22nd Feb 2017 and the operation was on the 23rd. By the next day I was able to sit in a chair and walk to the bathroom. By the 26th I was walking down the corridor of the ward and was discharged on the 28th. The whole procedure took 5 1/2 days which I find amazing!

I had no need for pain killers, even Paracetamol after I was discharged. There was no pain at the site of the incision, the only discomfort is the ribcage and along the spine where they were flexed during the procedure.

Here are a few tips that my help others.

Talk to the medical staff. It is quite bemusing if you haven’t experienced an operation of this type. To them it is all commonplace and may not explain everything to you.

I found the level of care to be excellent and would like to thank al l of the team at Waikato Hospital for their care and service to the community.

The strong pain killers administered immediately after the operation worked extremely well but caused me to have vivid nightmares. I was paranoid and didn’t mention it to the staff. If I had, they could have done something.

Keep a cushion or rolled up towel close at hand for you to support your chest if you cough or sneeze.

Try not to sleep on your side for quite some time after the operation. Lying on your back reduces the strain on the ribcage and subsequently reduces the discomfort.

Keep busy but try not to over-reach or lift things. When the discomfort subsides still be careful, I didn’t and suffered for it.

My thanks to Mr Tal Golesworthy, Exstent, my surgeons and the team at Waikato Hospital – New Zealand.

Year of operation: 2017