March 25, 2022 9.59 am This story is over 20 months old

Elderly man becomes Lincolnshire’s first to receive ‘diamond heart’ procedure

Michael has a heart condition and diamonds were used to help solve it

An 82-year-old man from Lincolnshire is one of the first patients to undergo a new procedure that uses diamonds to correct abnormal heartbeats.

Michael Lynas, 82, from Holbeach, received the treatment at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge as he was undergoing an ablation after issues surrounding irregular heart rhythms.

An ablation will use either heat or freezing on the problematic area of the heart that triggers the dangerous rhythm, creating scar tissue to destroy problematic heart tissue.

A catheter containing industrial grade diamonds was used during Mr Lynas’ treatment, and it is hoped this new innovative procedure will not only be a pinpoint cure to arrhythmia, but also reduce surgery times and enhance patient safety in the process.

The DiamondTemp catheter is used in a handful of NHS trusts across England. | Photo: Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The DiamondTemp catheter is already being used at a handful of NHS trusts across the country, but Mr Lynas’ procedure represents its first use on a Lincolnshire patient.

Michael was brought in for treatment of a condition he has called ventricular tachycardia, which occurs when the lower chamber of the heart beats too fast to pump blood effectively, meaning the body does not receive enough oxygenated blood.

His procedure came three years after he suffered a heart attack, as well as previously having a cardiac arrest, and he was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Michael Lynas, 82, from Holbeach, was delighted after his procedure. | Photo: Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Speaking just hours after his diamond heart treatment, Michael Lynas said: “My ICD has gone off twice since it was fitted three years ago – it allows me to carry on with my life knowing that I have a device that will shock my heart back into life if needed.

“However, day-to-day I still suffer with an abnormal and fast heart rate and that left me feeling dizzy quite a lot of the time, but since having the ablation performed by Dr Martin and her team my heart has been back in a normal rhythm.

“I can feel the difference inside myself and it gives me an inner confidence I did not have before. I may be 82, but I like to stay active and get out, so this makes such a huge difference to my quality of life.

“This is all thanks to this new technology, combined with the brilliant treatment I have received at Royal Papworth Hospital. I cannot speak highly enough of the care I have received from everyone at the hospital.

“I find it quite amazing that, at the age of 82, I can be given a general anaesthetic, undergo an ablation and then be walking and talking in my room within an hour or two.

“I hope that telling my story encourages and reassures other people who are due to come in for an ablation and gives them confidence that they too will be treated safely by an outstanding and compassionate team.”

Staff at Royal Papworth Hospital after the procedure. | Photo: Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation

Dr Claire Martin, consultant cardiologist at Royal Papworth Hospital, said: “Cooling the heart during an ablation is vital in order to be able to deliver sufficient energy to the tissue and to prevent char building up on the tip of the catheter.

“This new technology makes the procedures safer because less saline infusion is needed to cool down a diamond catheter compared with platinum which is usually used.

“This is important in patients with heart failure because fluid can easily build up in the lungs, so we want to use as little fluid as possible. By using diamonds instead of platinum, we are able to use up to 50% less saline.

“It also provides quicker, more effective cooling, which helps to reduce procedure times and in turn will allow us to perform more ablations each day.”