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30 October 2007

Papworth Hospital performs public broadcast of live heart surgery

Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with Wellcome Collection, will hold its second public broadcast of a UK hospital operation to a public audience on Thursday 1st November 19.00-21.30 hrs.

• Event location: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE

• Public information: www.wellcomecollection.org or 020 7611 2222. This FREE event is now fully booked but people may queue for returns on the night

A public audience of over 220 people will be linked via satellite to an operating theatre at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, to watch and talk to heart surgeon Francis Wells and the theatre operating team while they carry out a complex reconstruction of a heart valve. Sam Nashef, a Papworth Hospital heart surgeon, will be at Wellcome Collection for the event. He will provide the audience with expert commentary and professional insight into the procedure. Surgical equipment used in the operation will be available for the audience to examine.

The audience will have a rare opportunity to see a human heart and a dramatic insight into the impact surgery will have on the patient's life, and why preserving the natural heart valve, rather than replacing it with an artificial one, allows the heart to function more efficiently.

The event is only the second ever live broadcast of a UK hospital operation to a public audience. The first was carried out at Papworth Hospital in partnership with Wellcome Collection in July 2007. This second event has been created following huge public interest around the first. Over half of respondents to a survey at the first event said they had gained new knowledge through attending, had had their curiosity satisfied and had seen, heard and spoken of fascinating and awe-inspiring things. 50% of respondents described the event as emotionally moving.

Francis Wells, heart surgeon, Papworth Hospital, said: “The expression, ‘operating theatre’, is derived from using surgery to teach doctors and surgeons about medical procedures and the human body. I hope this live event will enable people to have a similar insight into the hidden world of our heart and understand more about surgery and why the heart is so important to keep in good health. The massive level of public interest following the first operation is indicative of the public interest in this area of medical practice and the desire to understand more about medicine.”

Lisa Jamieson, Events Manager, Wellcome Collection, said: "The chance to watch a surgical team at work and speak to the surgeon while operating is a privileged and powerful experience, and one that has proved hugely popular. People are amazed by medical-science and the chance to see an operation first hand increases understanding and removes some of the mysticism around surgery. The event illustrates the innovative activities we programme at Wellcome Collection and one of the reasons why we have attracted over 75, 000 visitors since opening in June."


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