Evelina London heart specialist treats same patient 25 years on

Posted on Wednesday 1st March 2017
Sam Blake and Professor Qureshi

Samantha with Professor Qureshi

A young woman born with a heart condition has had a pioneering procedure carried out by the same heart specialist who helped to save her life as a baby.

Samantha Blake, 27, from Haywards Heath in West Sussex, is one of the first people in the UK to have a new replacement Venus P-valve saving her from needing open heart surgery.

She was born with a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which causes the heart to form abnormally. It is one of the most common congenital heart defects and affects around one in 3,000 babies born in the UK.

Samantha, a barrister’s clerk, was cared for and operated on by Professor Shakeel Qureshi, consultant cardiologist and specialist in congenital heart disease (children and adults), and Professor David Anderson, consultant heart surgeon and professor of children’s heart surgery, when she was 17 months old.

The life-saving surgery leaves patients with a heart valve which does not close properly, causing blood to leak. People usually need an operation to mend the leaking valve in early adulthood.

Last autumn Samantha benefited from a new replacement valve, known as the Venus P-valve, which was fitted during a minimally invasive procedure at Guy’s Hospital. She was delighted that it was carried out by Professor Qureshi.

She said: “I felt in very safe hands with Professor Qureshi – he is like an old friend because he has looked after me since I was a newborn. It was a big relief having the new procedure because there was a chance I would have needed open heart surgery again without it. I’d always felt fortunate that I had no memories of my operation as a baby so it had been scary to think it might happen again as an adult.”

Until now, other replacement valves were too small to fit most patients, meaning only 20% could have them implanted and the rest needed open heart surgery for a second time.

As the lead investigator in a clinical study assessing the new device, Professor Qureshi explained: “We know people who have had corrective surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot will need further treatment to stop their pulmonary valves leaking later in life. Around 100 people have had the Venus P-valve implanted in the world so far and the majority have had good results. This is a very exciting development which could prevent many people across the world having major surgery.”

Evelina London is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust which means that some specialists treat both children and adults.

Find out more about heart services at Evelina London.