Pioneering new heart treatment
Carl Jordan, of Tunstall, below, is one of just 96 patients from 30 hospitals worldwide to take part in a trial in which he has been fitted with a pacemaker-like device to stimulate his heart.
The device – fitted under Mr Jordan’s collarbone during surgery at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital – aims to reduce the size of his heart. Mr Jordan, who has undergone 12 operations since his first heart attack in 2001, is currently unable to walk more than 70 yards without becoming breathless. He said: “It wasn’t an easy decision to take part in the study but one which I hope will improve my quality of life. I don’t mind being a guinea pig if it helps me, and potentially helps others.
“It was a privilege to be chosen but also frightening.” At the moment my heart is quite big and if it gets any bigger I am in serious trouble. The idea is that it will help shrink the heart so it doesn’t have to work so hard. In turn that will help my breathing.”
Mr Jordan suffered his first heart attack 11 years ago while working as a station manager for the ambulance service. He said: “I have dealt with hundreds of heart attack victims and I knew exactly what was happening to me.”
But just under two weeks after being discharged from hospital, he was readmitted after his health deteriorated. On the wards, Mr Jordan, who lives in May Avenue with wife Angela suffered another cardiac arrest. Mrs Jordan, a catering assistant, said: “We were told that he might not pull through as he was in such a bad way. It was such a scary time.”
Over the years he has undergone a dozen surgical procedures, including open heart surgery. He takes 34 tablets a day and needs to keep oxygen in the house and car.
Now the family are hoping the device – which is connected to the vagus nerve – will help improve his life. The device uses electrical pulses to stimulate the nerve to help improve cardiac function and life expectancy. It is aimed at protecting the heart from the effects of adrenaline, which causes the heart to work faster and enlarge.
Dr Jay Wright, a consultant cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, is leading the studyand he carried the operation on Mr Jordan. Dr Wright said: “This is a first in man study and if successful, will improve the quality of life for heart failure patients in the UK.”