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After The Love Has Gone

From the operating theatre to 5K – senior citizen Mike from Sussex keeps on running

Image : NHS

A park-running pensioner from Sussex is back pounding the streets of Hove after undergoing pioneering heart surgery at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Back in January this year Mike Boice had to go the Brighton hospital, part of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, to have an aortic valve replaced in his heart.

Six months after the operation, known as TAVI, he is back running his local 5k on Hove Lawns, down the road from his home.

His recovery from the operation has been such a success he has now been invited to go to Paris and speak at a European cardiology conference.

Mike, 80, a retired educationalist, said: “I was born with a bi-cuspid aortic valve – basically mine had two flaps instead of three.

“I didn’t even know until about 20 years ago when I started having palpitations. I went to see a GP and a specialist diagnosed me. For years it was manageable with an annual check-up but by December 2020 I was advised that the condition had worsened and I needed to have an operation.”

Mike added: “I was pretty asymptomatic but my heart was working harder than is should have been. I have always been a keen runner but I was basically warned off it and I stopped completely last year. That was a big wrench.”

“But once I’d had the op, which went really well so they tell me, I was told I could start again in time.

“I celebrated my 80th birthday having a run beside Lake Garda with my son Mathew and I then did my first 5k post-op Parkrun on June 11 in Hove.

“I did another one last weekend and hopefully, once I get the total all-clear from the docs and my confidence increases with my new valve, I can get back up to speed and go for a 10k!”

Professor Hildick-Smith leads the cardiology team at The Royal Sussex County Hospital.

He said: “Mike is very fit for his age and he had not been hugely troubled by his condition but it was getting worse and he needed to have the operation.

“We are one of about 20 hospitals in the UK who do the TAVI’s. We used to offer the procedure to only very elderly people but in the last few years have expanded the indication to allow for moderate risk cases where the patient is given the choice and chooses TAVI. 

“In Mike’s case his recovery from the operation has been really successful and it is great to see him back doing what he loves.

“The company that make the valve are a huge American company and they hold an annual European meeting for staff to discuss TAVI. Mike has been asked to give a talk from the patient’s perspective

“Dr James Cockburn will also be attending to give a talk, on the use of TAVI valves inside old surgical valves.

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