Chris Cairns gearing up for "greatest challenge" after heart surgery

Following a heart surgery he suffered several complications including a paralysis in his legs and a stroke in his spine.

Chris Cairns had collapsed last month after suffering a massive heart attack, resulting in an aortic dissection.   -  REUTERS

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns on Sunday said the spinal stroke he suffered following a life-saving heart surgery last month will provide him "with possibly the greatest challenge I've ever faced in rehab going forward".

The 51-year-old former cricketer had collapsed last month after suffering a massive heart attack, resulting in an aortic dissection.

Aortic dissection is a serious condition in which a tear happens in the inner layer of the body's main artery (aorta).

Following a heart surgery he suffered several complications including a paralysis in his legs and a stroke in his spine.

"Just about six weeks ago I suffered a Type A aortic dissection which essentially means there's a tear in one of my arteries of the heart," Cairns said in the video message posted on his social media.

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"I had several surgeries and grafts, and very thankfully, the specialists were able to save the heart itself.

"One of the complications that arose was a spinal stroke, which in itself will provide me with possibly the greatest challenge I've ever faced in rehab going forward," he said.

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One of the best all-rounders of his time, Cairns, who played 62 Tests, 215 ODIs and two T20Is for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006, thanked the doctors and nurses for saving his life.

"A long road ahead, but I’m grateful to be here.

"Huge thanks to the team here at Canberra Hospital, to St Vincent's in Sydney, the surgeons, the doctors, the nurses, the specialists - you saved my life.

"Thanks also to all the well wishes that have been sent through to Mel, my wife, and I. Uplifting, humbling and so, so special," Cairns said.

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