27 June 2023

Great granddad celebrates 90th birthday milestone after 'light touch' TAVI procedure

A great grandfather has celebrated his 90th birthday milestone just weeks after having a new heart valve fitted as part of a pioneering 'light touch' TAVI service at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.


  • John Stoner is thanking cardiologists at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals after celebrating his 90th milestone birthday just weeks after having a 'light touch' TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation)
  • The pioneering ‘light touch’ heart valve replacement service – which is about to hit its landmark 500th patient – enables patients aged 75 and over to have structural heart valve intervention without the need for a general anaesthetic or open-heart surgery
  • Heart specialists say the service could transform the lives of patients living with severe aortic stenosis – which remains ‘silent’ in a significant proportion of people until it becomes advanced.

A great grandfather who had a new heart valve fitted less than two weeks before his 90th birthday is thanking cardiologists at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for helping him maintain his independence and giving him extra years of life.

John Stoner, who underwent a ‘light touch’ TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation) at the Northern General Hospital in May, said having the procedure “means a lot” at his age.

“I’ve always been fit and well, but I was getting breathless climbing hills and it was rapidly becoming concerning.”

An avid golfer, John, who has been retired for 32 years, continued to remain active, but started to worry when he noticed he could no longer put as many golf balls as he used to.

A trip to his GP led to a diagnosis for the most advanced form of aortic stenosis, and he was referred to the TAVI specialist team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, who are now offering a new streamlined 'light touch' TAVI to patients aged 75 and over which enables them to have have heart valves replaced without the need for a general anaesthetic

After a series of assessments, John underwent his TAVI procedure describing it as “excellent”.

“I still can’t believe how painless it all was. I could feel the difference straight away. I’m nearly 90, but an extension to my life, at my age means a lot. I’ve been pretty lucky all my life, so the outcome of this, it’s just the icing on the cake.”

TAVI is a relatively newer, less invasive, keyhole procedure which has been shown to be a viable alternative to traditional heart valve replacement surgery.

To perform TAVI, cardiologists first make a small incision in the top of the leg to guide a small tube known as a catheter through to the arteries and into the heart. The new valve can then be positioned on top of the existing faulty valve which is simply pushed aside.

For elderly patients, having TAVI under light sedation has been shown to have many benefits. This includes reducing their risk of serious complications from having a general anaesthetic and a shorter post-operative recovery time compared to open-heart surgery. Patients undergoing TAVI typically go home 2-3 days after their procedure and have a shorter recovery period.

In John's case he was able to return home the next day, and spent his milestone birthday surrounded by his family, including with his greatgrandchildren, in Denby Dale.

To read more about the new 'light touch' TAVI service click here.


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