Sir Michael Palin, 76, reveals he needs major heart surgery this September as he cancels book tour to fix ‘leaky valve’
- Sir Michael Palin has announced he is due to have heart surgery in September
- TV star had been due to be on a book tour at the time, but will now be recovering
- Announcement on his blog was accompanied by a picture of the Python gang
Sir Michael Palin has revealed he is set to have heart surgery for a ‘leaky mitral valve’.
The 76-year-old former Monty Python star, who was knighted last month, was due to tour Britain in October to promote his new book.
But he is now expected to cancel the tour as he will be recovering from surgery, which is due to take place in September.
Michael Palin, pictured after he was knighted last month, is to undergo heart surgery
The broadcaster, also known for his popular travel shows, announced the news with typical good humour, writing a statement beneath a picture of the Monty Python gang dressed as surgeons in the film The Meaning of Life.
He wrote on his blog: ‘Five years ago, a routine health check revealed a leaky mitral valve in my heart.
‘Until the beginning of this year it had not affected my general level of fitness. Recently, though, I have felt my heart having to work harder and have been advised it’s time to have the valve repaired.
The broadcaster released a statement beneath an image from the film The Meaning of Life
Sir Michael found fame as one of the faces of groundbreaking comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He is pictured with the Python gang on the set of Life of Brian
WHAT IS A LEAKY MITRAL VALVE?
The mitral valve is a small flap in the heart that stops blood flowing the wrong way. If damaged, it can affect how blood flows around the body.
A ‘leaky’ mitral valve is the nickname for a condition called mitral regurgitation, when it doesn’t close tightly enough and blood goes the wrong way.
This puts a strain on the heart and often causes symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue, Harvard Medical School states.
In the long-run, mitral regurgitation can lead to serious complications such as atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) and heart failure.
It is often caused by mitral valve prolapse, when the flaps – called leaflets – bulge back into the left atrium as the heart contracts.
However, a leaky mitral valve also can happen with age, through general ‘wear and tear’ of the valve, the NHS says.
Other causes include cardiomyopathy (stiff heart chamber muscles), an infection of the inner lining of the heart, or congenital heart disease.
Statistics suggest the NHS undertakes around 2,200 mitral valve repair operations each year.
‘I shall be undergoing surgery in September and should be back to normal, or rather better than normal, within three months.’
Sir Michael was due to head out across the UK from October 16-30 to talk about his new book, North Korea Journal, which follows his 2018 Channel 5 documentary about his experience in the secretive nation.
Publisher Penguin said that all tickets to the tour will be refunded.
Father-of-three Palin, who lives with his wife Helen in north London, appeared to be in fine health when he was knighted by Prince William for services to travel, culture and geography last month.
He said he and the prince discussed travel, but he resisting the temptation to crack a joke during the investiture at Buckingham Palace.
‘He talked about where I was going next, any parts of the world I really wanted to go that I hadn’t already – to which I normally say Middlesbrough,’ the broadcaster said after the event.
Instead he went for the far-flung location of Kazakhstan.
He praised the ‘rather wonderful’ experience of receiving an honour, which he said would have been ‘unbelievable’ to his younger self 50 years ago when the Pythons formed.
‘It’s very, very nice to be recognised,’ he added.
The star showed no signs of ill health last month, saying: ‘It’s very, very nice to be recognised’