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Broadcaster Ivan Martin taking it 'one day at a time' after heart surgery

Popular radio show host full of praise for hospital staff who treated him

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 24/06/2016

Broadcaster Ivan Martin recovering at home yesterday after open heart surgery
Broadcaster Ivan Martin recovering at home yesterday after open heart surgery
Ivan Martin with his wife Suzanne

Broadcaster Ivan Martin has spoken of how he is taking "one day at a time" after undergoing life-saving open heart surgery.

The 64-year-old father-of-two endured a six-hour operation two weeks ago to replace a valve in his aorta - which controls the flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body - with a bovine replacement valve.

Ivan, who left hospital last Thursday, praised the staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital who treated him.

"The staff at the RVH could not have been more attentive or better, I would offer nothing but praise and thanks to them, they were terrific," he said.

"My understanding is that it was a success and I have to go and see the surgeon for a review in five weeks."

Ivan, dad to 24-year-old James and 21-year-old Daniel, was told he needed to have the surgery several months ago when the condition was picked up during a routine scan. The major operation involved removing a faulty or damaged valve and replacing it with a new one made from synthetic materials or animal tissue.

In Ivan's case, the new valve was harvested from cow heart sac, which is treated and neutralised to stop the body rejecting the tissue.

During the procedure, his heart was stopped and a heart-lung bypass machine used to take over the job of his heart for the duration of the operation.

"I went from surgery to intensive care and I was there for about three days," he said. "I was then in high dependency ward for a few days and then upstairs to a side room on the ward.

"On the plus side I was initially scheduled to be in hospital until next week but got out last Thursday." Although the operation was a success, the popular broadcaster said he is listening carefully to the advice given to him by his surgeon, Chris Austin.

"Whenever I'm sitting on the sofa watching the Euros 2016 I feel that I could play, but then I walk from the living room out to the garden and round the garden once and I feel like I need to sleep for a week," he said.

"When I think of where I am today and where I was a week ago it is like day and night. But when I was leaving Chris Austin the surgeon said to me, 'Ivan I'm warning you to be wary of unrealistic expectations'. "I'm very much feeling governed by what he told me to do. He said to me as far as your family goes, 'leave running the marathons to your wife Suzanne'.

"The problem was that I wasn't showing any symptoms. Some people have suggested that when I'm completely recovered I will notice a marked difference from before. Things that I would have put down to just tiredness or that I'm overdoing it were actually showing me that I needed this."

He said his wife of 24 years, eldest son James, who has Down's Syndrome, and Daniel who flew over from London, were all delighted when he came home.

"James lives with us but both my sons were here when I came home which as nice. It was lovely to come home to a full house."

The well known voice on the radio also spoke of his hopes to return to work at U105 sometime in July.

He said: "The big thing for me is the Sunday Show on U105 and I would hope to get back to that sometime in July.

"I wouldn't want to be any more specific."

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