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22 September 2016

Celebrating 50 years of open heart surgery

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) celebrate with patient on the 50th anniversary of their open heart surgery, performed at the old Bristol Royal Hospital for Sick Children on St Michael's Hill.

UH Bristol is delighted to welcome a previous patient of the Trust, Edward Eagle, who is returning to Bristol to visit staff and patients at the modern Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and Bristol Heart Institute to mark the anniversary of his open heart procedure.

Edward said: "I am thrilled to be returning to the children's hospital, 50 years to the day, to celebrate the anniversary of my open heart surgery.

 "I was born with a hole-in-the-heart (ASD) which was rectified by the hospital in 1966. I have no recollection of the procedure but I do remember how ill I was before the operation having been hospitalised on several occasions and partially remember my recovery time in hospital. A technique in which I was hooked up to my father called cross-circulation, pioneered by Dr Walton Lillehei of Minnesota, was used to keep me alive during the operation." Although the children's hospital has moved to a modern site, I look forward to seeing the transformation the cardiac service has made since my operation, and meeting patients who may be in a similar position to the one I was in all those years ago.


Edward with a picture of the machine used in 1966, and the device they use for the same operation now.

group shotAndrew Parry, consultant paediatric cardiologist at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, said: "We look forward to welcoming Edward, and showing him our paediatric and adult cardiac services as they are today.

"Cross-circulation was a rare technique that was used to keep patients alive during surgery, and as technology has evolved machines now carry out this role. Edward's passion and gratitude is not only welcomed by our staff but our patients as well."


Edward concluded: "Fifty years is testament not only to me but to the professional, dedicated and caring staff of the children's hospital and NHS. As for my father, Edward Eagle, he offered his life to save mine by being my heart-lung machine. I hope, by surviving 50 years, that I am worthy of his efforts and that he is proud of what he did."

"It is with awe and gratitude that I think of all those people who I do not know and did not know who worked together to save my life. I sincerely hope that I am worthy of them all. If I can give just one patient the belief and confidence that heart surgery is survivable and that a full life can be lived after heart surgery then my visit will have been a worthwhile"

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