University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Meet the patients: Ella Maxey

When Ella Maxey was six weeks old, her GP detected what she thought was a heart murmur. She referred her to hospital, where she was diagnosed with a hole in her heart and a defective heart valve, known as tetralogy of fallot.

Just ten weeks later, Ella had her first operation at SUHT to repair the defects in her heart. This was done using a bovine pericardial patch, which is specially treated and preserved tissue from a cow's heart. This is a durable but flexible material used for closing holes in and around the heart.

Her mum, Claire, 40, from North Baddesley said, "Ella spent four hours in surgery with Marcus Haw and his team. The operation was a success but there was a complication after the surgery and she spent several days on the paediatric intensive care unit before her heart started beating by itself again.

"I have no fear now that I know everyone on Ocean ward and I have talked to other families there. I'm looking forward to Ella's follow up appointments to get the peace of mind that she's doing well, although we know she will probably need another operation in early adulthood.

"We've been back to see the team on PICU as well - I think the doctors and nurses were pleased to see Ella now she is better."

This story was first published in Connect magazine.