Pig's heart valve saves life of vegetarian

A vegetarian in Scotland was saved from a serious heart ailment after being fitted with a pig's heart valve, in a life or death surgery

Robyn Carnie, then 18, had a difficult decision to make when she had to be fitted with a pig's valve after being diagnosed with a rare heart disease aortic stenosis and regurgitation.

Her body's largest artery had narrowed, allowing blood to flow back into the heart - a condition that affects just two per cent of the population.

She was told that, as a matter of life and death, she needed a complex surgery to replace her own failing heart valve with an animal valve.

Surgeons fitted Carnie with a pig valve, which should last around 20 years, in an operation at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank in 2009.

"It was a shock when I had the diagnosis - and a bigger shock when I was told I needed to have a valve removed and replaced with a valve from a pig," the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.

"I'm a vegetarian so it was a difficult choice, but it was a life or death one," she said.

Carnie also admits that after the surgery she is now fitter and stronger than ever, and can continue to pursue her dreams of becoming a sports therapist.

"It was a struggle at first but it gradually improved and now I am now faster, fitter, and stronger than I've ever been," she said.

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