As I watched it took just an hour for a woman’s life to be changed forever

THE calm in the operating theatre was what struck me.

It was 2.28pm on Level E East Wing and ten specialists crowded around the table for the first operation of its kind in Southampton.

The patient was a woman in her 60s with severe high blood pressure.

Up to this point, her daily routine involved taking more than six medications – which all failed to control the condition.

But rather than an intrusive operation under the knife, the patient was awake on a local anaesthetic, as history was made in the city.

As a state-of-the art device was carefully guided into the arteries of the kidneys through the groin using X-ray images, there was no tension, no nerves, no shouting, just an air of excitement – and some reassuring words of encouragement from consultant interventional cardiologist Dr James Wilkinson as he fired short bursts of radio waves to burn the overactive nerves.

Only ten minutes into the procedure and already an area of overactive nerves were zapped – lowering blood pressure with each move.

He said softly: “You’re doing so well. It’s going marvellously. I know it’s sore but it will go in a minute.

“You are doing fantastically and it is going very well so far.”

As the procedure continued, a stream of nurses and experts crept into the back of the theatre to catch a glimpse of the revolutionary work.

Each person couldn’t resist looking at the X-ray screen to watch the device literally zap nerve after nerve.

Exactly 60 minutes later it was all over.

It is surreal to think that in this short space of time and following such a straightforward procedure, this woman’s life would be changed forever.

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