Inquest: Bounds Green community stalwart’s heart death ‘extremely unlucky’

10:31 25 May 2012

George Theoharous

George Theoharous

Archant

A great-grandfather was “extremely unlucky” to die from a rare heart complication during a routine “innocuous procedure” carried out on thousands of people every year, an inquest heard.

George Theoharous, of Churston Gardens, Bounds Green, appeared to have successfully recovered from a coronary artery bypass operation last November at the Heart Hospital in Marylebone.

He made “excellent clinical progress” after the procedure and was told he could be discharged within days, the inquest at Westminster Coroners’ Court heard last Thursday.

But when having his temporary pacing wires removed on November 14 – a procedure conducted thousands of times at the hospital every year – Mr Theoharous’ heart suddenly stopped, and he died.

David Sanderson, a senior nurse at the Heart Hospital for 10 years, told the court he had removed hundreds of pacing wires – which are used to temporarily maintain a regular heartbeat following a heart operation.

But within seconds of Mr Theoharous having his wires removed, he told Mr Sanderson he felt dizzy and quickly fell unconscious.

Doctors found he had suffered a cardiac tamponade – an extremely rare condition that puts pressure on the heart as fluid accumulates around it.

The court heard that more than 1,750 pacing wires are removed from patients at the Heart Hospital annually, but there had been only one other fatality as a result in the past five years.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said Mr Theoharous, who had suffered from severe coronary artery disease, was “extremely unlucky” to have died.

She said: “The randomness of it is so intensely unfair. It’s quite clear that there does not seem to have been anything that was incorrectly undertaken. It’s just a matter of great tragedy.”

She ruled the death was caused by a complication of necessary surgery.

Mr Theoharous’ son Harry said his father, a retired property company director, was a “great family man” and often organised fundraising barbeques for St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox church in Wightman Road, Harringay.

He said: “He was a big figure in the local community.” Mr Theoharous leaves behind his wife, three children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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