Former miner is 1,000th patient to have heart operation at Pinderfields

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A former miner has become the 1,000th patient to have a heart operation since it was made available at Pinderfields Hospital three years ago.

Ralph Blacker, 79, had a coronary angioplasty, which unblocks arteries and helps prevent heart attacks, performed at the hospital just hours after being admitted with chest pains.

The procedure, also known as a balloon stent, takes between 30 minutes and two hours and inserts a tube containing an inflatable device into the damaged part of the heart.

Once in place the balloon is inflated, widening a metal stent which unblocks the artery.

Mr Blacker, who worked at Walton, Park Hill and Newland collieries and lives in Lupset, had the stent fitted under local anaesthetic and returned home the next day.

He said: “Pinderfields is so handy for me and my family, and the treatment I have received from the staff and the doctors has been excellent.

“I had never heard of a stent before but I wasn’t worried. I have faith in our NHS.”

Following the procedure, patients are given extensive rehabilitation and advice on smoking, diet and exercise in a bid to prevent further heart problems.

Patients in the catchment area of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust had to travel to Leeds for the procedure before it became available at Pinderfields.

Mid Yorkshire said performing the operation at the catheter laboratory at Pinderfields cut waiting times, made visiting easier and gave patients access to specialist care under one roof.

Dr Dwayne Conway, consultant at Trust’s cardiology unit, said: “This service is a great example of Dewsbury, Pontefract and Pinderfields hospitals working together to deliver the kind of expertise one single hospital could not realistically have set up on its own.

“We also have the good news that work has begun on a second cardiac catheterisation lab at Pinderfields which should improve waiting times still further.”