A SOUTHAMPTON woman died following routine heart surgery after a tear to a major blood vessel.

Shirley Vierling from West End began to bleed out out during “textbook” operation at Southampton General Hospital and despite the cut being successfully repaired, she died from complications.

The 78-year-old, of Fielders Court, had gone into hospital for a procedure to fix her irregular heartbeat when a 9mm tear occurred to her vena cava – the main vein from the lower part of the body.

But Winchester Coroner’s Court heard that unusually thin tissue in the vessel that could not be detected prior to the surgery meant even monitoring equipment would not detect any damage that had been done before it was too late.

The incident led to a number of problems including low blood pressure and a heart beat that did not return to normal rhythm on July 14.

When asked by assistant coroner Simon Burge whether Ms Vierling had a predisposition to this condition, and therefore to the vein rupturing, consultant cardiologist Dr Arthur Yue replied: “Because of the unusual tissue state, quite likely yes.

"Everything was textbook about the procedure.”

Pathologist Dr Norman Carr gave Ms Vierling’s cause of death as multi-organ failure.

Mr Burge recorded a conclusion of accidental death.