An incredible heart procedure that requires no open surgery saved the life of a Blackheath woman.

Olasumbo Yates, a 55-year-old pharmacist, is the first person in the UK to be on the receiving end of the procedure.

She developed a leaking heart valve after a heart attack in 2011, which if left untreated could have led to heart failure and ultimately death.

She said: “Last year I suddenly started to get breathless and very tired. I could barely function and struggled to get through working two days a week.

“No matter how much rest I got I needed more and I had to cut all activities down to a minimum.”

Doctors at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital told her about the innovative Arto procedure that could save her life without open heart surgery.

The complicated procedure first involves putting a camera down her throat to see how much blood is leaking from the valve into the heart.

Thin flexible tubes are inserted in veins through the neck and leg down to the mitral valve at the heart where, through the use of magnets and discs, stitch the valve back together again.

Olasumbo said: “The difference was immediate. When I woke up I felt lighter and I was eager to get out of bed. I could walk at my usual slow pace without feeling tired, which was a big improvement.

“Now I’m able to work three days a week and, provided I pace myself, I have a lot more energy. The procedure has given me a whole new lease of life and I’m so grateful I had it.”

Professor Redwood said: “It is too early to say if the Arto procedure is better than other treatments for mitral regurgitation but it is very safe and easy to do.

“Patients are usually able to go home within a couple of days of having the procedure and they can feel the benefits straightaway.

“It is important to understand more about the long-term benefits of the device which should become clearer when more patients are treated with it.

“So far nearly 50 patients have had the procedure worldwide and Guy’s and St Thomas’ is one of only two centres in the UK carrying out the treatment.

“Everyone’s anatomy is different so not all treatments are suitable for patients, which is why it is beneficial to have more options to offer them.”