Heart patient Dan Theuerkauf has a new lease on life thanks to new technology.
Heart patient Dan Theuerkauf has a new lease on life thanks to new technology. Robyne Cuerel

Tinana's miracle man survives rare heart operation

TINANA'S Dan Theuerkauf happily describes himself as a "miracle man" after becoming the 12th person in Queensland to receive a revolutionary heart operation that saved his life.

In October, the 56-year-old excavator and trucking business owner was chosen as one of just 150 people in Australia and New Zealand to take part in the multi-million dollar American-led MitralClip System ANZ clinical trial now being conducted at Brisbane's Prince Charles Hospital.

"I had a heart attack in 2004 when I was 48 and they discovered it wasn't possible to give me a stent to fix my blocked arteries so I got five bypasses done on four arteries instead," Mr Theuerkauf said yesterday.

Doctors later found the heart attack had caused the mitral valve in his heart to leak, causing shortness of breath.

When the Prince Charles heart specialist phoned to say he might fit the trial of the new clip, it changed Dan's life.

After days of stringent tests, Dan Theuerkauf finally found himself heading into theatre in Brisbane on October 14.

Four hours later, the three-pronged clip had been pushed up through his groin, a hole bored into his heart cavity and two clips attached to the leaky valve.

The operation was televised and transmitted to the other hospitals.

"I had absolutely no pain afterwards and feel like a new man. What is even more astounding is the op was 100% successful in stopping the leak when the doctors had banked on 90%."

A metal probe used to insert the clips is now being shared among three major Australian hospitals.


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