AFTER months of waiting, two Blackpool pensioners have finally had the pioneering heart operations they desperately needed.
It is celebration time for John Luczynski and Irene Bailey who are both said to be “doing well” following the TAVI (transcatheter aorticvalve implantation) procedure which they had previously been denied.
The £25,000 treatment is not routinely commissioned in the North West and both Mr Luczynski, 84, from South Shore, and Mrs Bailey, 83, from Marton, had to apply to NHS Blackpool’s specialist patient panel.
Cardiac surgeons Augustus Tang and Franco Sogliani carried out the TAVI procedures, which correct abnormal narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve, at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre in Blackpool on Monday.
The patients’ families say they have now been moved out of intensive care and are delighted by the progress they are making.
Grandmother-of-four Mrs Bailey, of Preston Old Road, was told her application for TAVI had finally been a success three weeks ago after The Gazette highlighted her case.
Kieron Clegg, Mrs Bailey’s son-in-law, said: “She’s doing well. She’s been sitting up in a chair. We are really pleased.
“I don’t know how long she will be in hospital for, we’ll just have to see how things progress but we’re hoping she’ll be able to live independently back in her own home.
“Up to now it’s looking good.”
Doctors had told grandfather-of-10 Mr Luczynski, of Dalton Avenue, he would have died within 12 months without the heart valve operation.
He has been in Blackpool Victoria Hospital since October after collapsing.
But Shirley Banks, Mr Luczynski’s grand-daughter, today said: “He’s doing really well, he’s able to talk. Hopefully he should be home in a week. Everything has gone well and we are really relieved it’s been done now.”
Mr Luczynski, who moved to the UK from Poland when he was 16 to help Britain’s war effort, will spend a week recovering at home before going back into hospital to have an operation on a malignant bowel tumour.
But once he’s fully recovered he’s planning to take his partner of 35 years – Shirley Robinson – on a cruise.
The North West Specialised Commissioning Group (NWSCG) which advises PCT boards on “how best to invest public money” has told cardiac centres it won’t be funding the TAVI for the time being, even though it’s available in most other regions.
The UK TAVI Forum, a group of clinicians, patient representatives and charities, are calling for the decision to be reversed as patients on the Fylde coast are still waiting for the procedure.
Clarice Richardson, 83, a grandmother-of-four from Norbreck, continues to appeal NHS Blackpool’s decision to refuse funding for TAVI.
Her husband, Roy, said: “We have had no advancement. We have received a letter from the PCT to say they have asked her consultant for more information to find out anything exceptional about her case.”
Another patient previously featured in The Gazette is also still waiting for a decision from NHS North Lancashire.
Fleetwood war veteran Hubert Crossley, 91, has now written to his local MP Eric Ollerenshaw in a bid to gain his support for his application.
He said: “It still seems they are short of money. We’ll just have to wait and see.”