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Norfolk plumber has world's first 'blood powder' surgery

Greg Bright, with his wife Julie <i>(Image: Royal Papworth)</i>
Greg Bright, with his wife Julie (Image: Royal Papworth)

A Norwich plumber has become the first person in the world to undergo a new kind of surgery - inspired by his family's history of heart problems.

Greg Bright, 69, underwent successful heart surgery at the Royal Papworth Hospital to repair his mitral valve - a small flap in the heart that stops blood flowing in the wrong direction.

But during the operation, he became the first person in the world to be treated using a 'blood product powder' as part of a trial being run at the Cambridgeshire hospital.

The study uses a a powder created from waste products in donated blood which is dried and given to patients to encourage natural blood clotting during operations.

This, it is hoped, will prevent complications caused by people bleeding during operations.

Eastern Daily Press:
Eastern Daily Press:

Mr Bright said he was inspired to put himself forward for the trial due to a history of heart problems in his family.

He said: "My mum had a double-heart bypass when she was 50 and my younger brother had open heart surgery in the early 1960s when he was born with a 2p-sized hole in his heart between his ventricles.

"I knew I had a heart murmur but nothing came up until a year or so ago when I was suddenly really breathless."

Tests revealed his condition and it was suggested he have surgery - at which point he was also invited to take part in the trial.

He added: "When I was approached about taking part, it was something I was more than happy to contribute to - it's an honour and a privilege to be the first patient.

"I'm very grateful for the support the NHS has given me, so if I can help be involved in something that proves beneficial for others in the future, I am more than happy to do so."