Heart surgery

Norwich grandmother to undergo major heart surgery on BBC2


8:18 pm November 17, 2021

The open heart surgery of a Norwich grandmother will air on BBC Two as part of a medical documentary series.

“Surgeons: At the Edge of Life” will go behind the scenes of the operating rooms at Royal Papworth Hospital, a world-renowned Cambridge-based heart and lung hospital, treating patients from across eastern England.

In episode two, which airs Thursday, November 18 at 9 p.m., Gertrude Pike, an 80-year-old grandmother from Norwich, will undergo surgery at Royal Papworth on three of the four valves in her heart.

An irregular heartbeat caused two of the valves to stretch and fail, affecting blood flow in her body.

The third valve has become so hard and blocked that it restricts the flow of blood 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 place Ms Pike on a heart-lung bypass machine, cool her body to just 28 degrees Celsius and shut down her heart.

Gertrude Pike will have her heart-to-heart surgery done by Narain Moorjani on BBC2 tomorrow.
– Credit: NHS

The bypass machine will take care of circulating and oxygenating Gertrude’s blood.

But with an elderly patient like Ms Pike, having bypass surgery is a great strain on the body, so Mr Moorjani and his team will have to work quickly.

Mr Moorjani said, “In the episode, we operate on three of Gertrude’s four valves, and the fourth valve is rarely affected in adults, so it’s as complex as it can be for heart valve surgery.

“I am fortunate enough to work alongside a skilled and talented theater team who work together every step of the way, and we hope that shows through in the program. We are very grateful to Gertrude and her family for being a part of this series.

Ms Pike added: “I am very grateful to Mr Moorjani and the entire team at Royal Papworth Hospital for taking care of me before, during and after my operation earlier this year. It was an honor to be invited to be filmed and I hope everyone enjoys the episode.

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