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'I'd pretty much retired from life ... but after the operation I could walk up hills, stairs, I felt great'

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 16/10/2015

Ian Killen (centre) with (from left) Colm Hanratty, Anne Kearney, Karen Dobbin, Simon Walsh and Niall Herity
Ian Killen (centre) with (from left) Colm Hanratty, Anne Kearney, Karen Dobbin, Simon Walsh and Niall Herity

Ian Killen (66) from Portaferry had his lifesaving procedure in 2013 in the City Hospital.

He was told the severity of his condition made him unsuitable for bypass surgery and was treated medically, but in the words of Dr Hanratty had been "sent home to die".

"They saved my life. I was diagnosed with angina in October 2007. I had an angiography which showed two blocked arteries.

"My consultant said he didn't think I could have a bypass, but that would be a decision for the surgeon at the Royal.

"I saw him in January 2008 and he confirmed I wouldn't be suitable. They also said stents wouldn't work and could in fact block the only good arteries.

"My medical condition went from what they call 'stable angina to unstable'. I wasn't able to walk upstairs without my spray with me to treat the pain and walking became very difficult. My life had become very restrictive.

"In March 2013 I went to the Ulster for a normal check-up of my condition and the registrar had done an ECG.

"He went to the consultant and came back and said 'how do you feel about going into hospital?' I said 'Yes, when?' He said 'now'.

"That was on the Thursday evening. I spent the night in A&E and the next day I was admitted to Ward 20 in the Ulster.

"I was hospitalised for seven weeks in the Ulster.

"After more investigations the word came back that I wasn't wholly suitable for a bypass - I then said what's left for me to do?

"He said: 'There are two guys in the City who are doing great work and I'll pass your file over for them.

"I think it was on a Wednesday I got a call to the Ulster saying they would transfer me.

"At 1.50pm on April 25, 2013 I was taken up to the cathlab for the operation.

"I went thinking I would just be looked at, but then I was prepped and taken to surgery and they explained what they were going to do.

"Dr Walsh came up and said 'we are going to have a go at this, but I can't promise anything but we will see what we can do'.

"They inserted in my right arm and then the artery in my groin.

"They explained I would be awake and that a machine would scan my chest very quickly.

"They worked on me for three hours and I was awake.

"After three hours, the doctor said 'I'm exhausted I think we'll stop, but I think we got a main artery open for you'.

"I felt 100% better. I felt that I could have got up and walked out. I had to go back for August 12 to clear more of my arteries and again on November 5.

"I had nine stents in my heart and they reopened all my arteries. It has given me back my life.

"I could walk up hills, stairs, I just felt great.

"Back in 2008 they weren't able to do that but these two doctors have pioneered this.

"Prior to 2013 I had pretty much retired myself from life.

"But this has just given me a new lease of life."

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