Team GB Paralympian's dad leaves hospital after life-changing surgery

Amy Conroy in action during London 2012 Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

Amy Conroy in action during London 2012 Chris Radburn/PA Wire. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The father of Team GB Paralympic basketballer Amy Conroy has been discharged from hospital after undergoing life-changing lung surgery.

Ms Conroy, who was born in Norwich, will be going for gold with the Team GB women's paralympic basketball team when the Tokyo Paralympic Games kick off this month.

And thanks to the work of surgeons at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, her father, Chris Conroy, 66, will be able to cheer her on from his home in Norwich when the games begin on Tuesday, August 24.

Mr Conroy has a condition called chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), which is caused by blood clots which block the arteries of the lungs.

Over time, this leads to pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure, and when severe the condition can increase breathlessness and shorten a person's lifespan.

The retired teacher said: “For the past few years I have noticed that my breathlessness was increasing and my capacity to do exercise was reducing, so I knew I had to go and get checked out.

“I went to my local hospital, Norfolk and Norwich, and after a few visits and scans on my heart and lungs I was diagnosed with CTEPH."

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The surgery, known as pulmonary endarterectomy surgery can take up to 10 hours to do and Royal Papworth Hospital is the only UK hospital able to perform it.

During the operation, the patient is drained of all blood to give the surgeon a clear view of the clots and the body of the patient is cooled to 20C to prevent damage to vital organs, including the brain.

Following the operation, the patient is re-warmed and blood is returned to their body from a heart-lung bypass machine.

Mr Conroy added: “I’ve had such a positive experience in hospital and brilliant treatment.

“Everyone has just been superb and the atmosphere is one of co-operation and compassion.

"I feel so lucky to have one of the best hospitals in the world 60 miles from my home.

“I have a renewed appreciation of being able to breathe and walk."

Now he says he cannot wait to support his daughter in Tokyo: “I had a ticket to go and watch last year, but family aren’t allowed to go this year so I’ll be watching from home."

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