Harold Wood mother is first in the UK to receive pioneering blood pressure treatment
PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:59 26 July 2016
A Harold Wood woman has become the first person in the UK to undergo a pioneering new surgery to help treat high blood pressure.
Claire Hawkes, 43, discovered she suffered from resistant hypertension, a severe form of the disease, when she had a sudden heart attack in December 2014, and has suffered extreme bouts of exhaustion ever since.
On June 30, after being advised she was a perfect candidate for the new treatment, Claire underwent a procedure that saw a device the size of a £2 coin inserted into her neck to control and monitor her blood pressure.
“I knew I was the first person in the country to be getting it, but I was never really anxious or worried, I had complete faith in my doctor and something had to be done because I didn’t really have a life.
“The most scared I got was just before the surgery, and that was because I knew I was going under the anaesthetic and might not wake up.”
Fortunately, Claire did wake up, and three weeks after her surgery she experiences almost none of the light-headedness or shortness of breath that made her life so difficult before.
“It’s given me my life back, because I was quite a sporty person before,” said Claire.
“I know I’ll never be able to play the contact sports I used to, but it will be nice to go for a good long walk with the kids and the dog without having to sit down and catch my breath every two minutes.”
And the new treatment has really impressed Claire, who is amazed at the technology that has been used to improve her quality of life.
“I can’t feel a thing,” she revealed.
“I mean with the box in my chest I know it’s there because there’s a slight bump, but there’s no irritation at all and my neck doesn’t feel any different.”
For Claire’s husband of 23 years, Graham, and the pair’s two children Kate, 14, and Matthew, 16, the surgery has given them their mother back.
“I know they’re all really happy and relieved that things are finally going to go back to normal,” said Claire.
“I know Graham really didn’t like seeing me in distress but I think Katie is the most happy, it’s important for a daughter to have her mother.”