PIONEERING surgeons at Harefield Hospital have given a patient the chance of a new life thanks to groundbreaking treatment.

Brian Everard, of Stanmore, is the first patient in the UK to undergo the procedure for a double heart valve replacement and is recovering well.

Mr Everard was spared the pain and trauma of open heart surgery - to replace his heart valves - and was instead operated on through a small incision in his chest.

A surgical team of seven performed the delicate operation in early February.

Lead surgeon Mr Mohammed Amrani, said: "Mr Everard was referred to us by the consultant cardiologist at Northwick Park Hospital who had monitored his heart valve disease for many years.

"His main symptom was breathlessness which was becoming increasingly severe. It was therefore judged that surgery was the only option to relieve his symptoms and prevent irreversible damage to his heart and lungs."

Normally surgeons have to cut through breast bone to gain access to the patient's heart, which can take up to two months to heal.

Mr Armani added: "In this approach no bone was cut and the healing process is much faster. The cosmetic aspect of the mini-invasive technique is also another considerable benefit."

Mr Everard, who is now recovering well from his surgery, said: "It was my first time ever in hospital and was pretty uneventful. The staff were friendly throughout and I was well looked after.

"I was very impressed with the technical aspects and the history of Harefield.

"I felt no great discomfort after the operation and my recommendation to anybody facing surgery is to have faith in the surgeons and the will to get better."

Harefield Hospital has long been at the cutting edge of heart and lung treatments and earlier this month it was announced that scientists had managed to grow heart valves from stem cells, a world first.