Patients tell about their heart surgery
François (81 years)
On April 16, 2015 I had to undergo open-heart surgery. This was preceded by a catheterization. Dr. Mees told me that the placement of stents was no longer an option. I was shaken by the news, but he immediately reassured me with the words “we can help you”.
I immediately thought of a family member that had undergone the same operation in an Antwerp hospital last year; his sternum and ribs were sawn through. The man was hospitalized for 10 days with lots of pain and a long rehabilitation.
When I was admitted, they informed me that a bridge would be placed with only a cut of about 8 cm below the left breast. The same day, after the operation was performed by surgeon Dr. Alaaddin Yilmaz and his team, I already left intensive care and moved to a regular room. And that without significant pain.
I was pampered by the nursing staff. Big thanks to all these people!
On the 5th day after the surgery I could return home. I could hardly believe it, after such a short time. The rehab went well. I feel excellent, almost reborn. The operation was only 2 months ago and now I ride about 60 km on my bike per week. I am 81 years old but I feel 10 years younger and super fit.
Once again, many thanks to all the surgeons and nursing staff.
Kindest - and especially grateful - regards,
Here is the handwritten letter of François:
Wim (59 years)
"I opted for minimally invasive surgery. I did not want to have my sternum divided. "
"My chest pains began in April 2014. An examination showed that I had 5 stenoses. I was placed on the waiting list for heart surgery, but I did not want open heart surgery. I didn’t like the idea that my sternum would be sawn in two.’
In the end I got in touch with the Cardiothoracic Surgery department of Jessa Ziekenhuis. Their cardiac surgeons were able to perform thoracoscopic surgery on me through 3 holes in my chest and an incision of about 5 cm. I liked the idea immediately, because this minimally invasive surgery has several benefits, not just in a cosmetic sense, but also in terms of aftercare: less pain, less blood loss and faster recovery.
The operation itself lasted for more than 4 hours. Afterwards I spent two and a half days at the intensive care unit and one and a half days on the ward. The ICU was tough, but after that - in my room on the ward - I quickly recovered. Six days after the surgery I was out and about again enjoying a cappuccino on the patio of a cafe. Unbelievable really. I still feel very grateful."
Frans (46 years)
My heart valve was inserted through a 4-cm incision. Clever, isn’t it?’
“A hospital examination showed that I had a heart valve problem that meant I had to have my heart valve replaced. This can be done with a mechanical valve or a natural valve from a pig. An artificial valve will last forty years, but you can hear it ticking continuously. I chose the pig valve. It doesn’t last as long - about 15 years - but you can’t hear it, it is made of living tissue and you don’t have to take any blood thinners.
I know that I will need surgery again in 15 years and I try to be prepared. I bear in mind that the first heart valve replacement was a positive experience. The minimally invasive procedure lasted slightly over 3 hours and the incision was only 4 cm. It is so amazing a surgeon can do that. It allowed me to go home after just 3 days.
I’m doing really well now. I feel so much fitter. I am glad I had the minimally invasive surgery. And who knows which new techniques will have been invented 15 years from now?”
Guido (63 years)
Trust and have faith
I didn’t know… that a half-yearly routine examination at the GP would result in a first in the medical world.
I didn’t know… what the surgery consisted of and how it would happen.
I didn’t know… what and how I would feel afterwards.
But one thing I knew: trust and have faith.
I have placed my heart figuratively but also literally in the hands of medical science and in particular in the hands of one person: Dr. A. YILMAZ.
And now I know: I was at the right time with the right person.