Today is World Heart Day, the world’s biggest platform for raising awareness of all types of cardiovascular disease. This is Sue Jardine’s heart valve disease story.
Sue is 73-years-old and lives with her husband in West Malling, Kent. She was diagnosed with aortic stenosis in 2013. After a successful TAVI procedure she is now back to enjoying time with her grandchildren and gardening in her local community.
She first became aware that there might be a problem with her heart in 2007, when she experienced what she thought was an asthma attack whilst playing golf. She had never been diagnosed with asthma, so was surprised that she was having her first episode in her 60s. She had actually suffered a heart attack, and was rushed to hospital for treatment. After several tests, doctors said she would need a triple-heart-bypass, which came as a shock given her lack of symptoms. The bypass operation was successful, but she had to see her doctor twice yearly to make sure there were no further issues.
All seemed to be well. Sue went to have a hip operation in 2013, and the surgeon advised her that his team would be taking extra care because of her aortic stenosis. This was the first time she had ever heard this term. It turned out that during her heart surgery all those years before, they had noticed a weak aortic valve. Sue was completely unaware that she had been diagnosed with heart valve disease until this point. Later in 2013, they moved to a new area. One evening, Sue and her husband went out for a walk, during which she became breathless and felt as if she was unable to continue walking. Realising this feeling was not normal, she arranged to see a heart specialist again, who, after conducting further investigation, said she would need an aortic valve replacement. The doctors were reluctant to perform another open-heart operation, so it was recommended that she undergo another minimally invasive treatment called TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation).
The procedure took place in London. The doctor successfully replaced the valve, and Sue was in and out of hospital within two days, compared with a four-day stay for her hip replacement. Sue’s recovery was rapid and she hardly noticed any breathlessness. As a busy grandmother to six children she was very grateful to be back to normal, playing football with them and enjoying a new lease of life. Also an avid golf player, she became active again within a short space of time. Sue’s father died from a heart attack aged 56, and also wasn’t aware that he had a heart condition, so she is incredibly thankful for her quick diagnosis and the fact that effective treatments were made available to her.
“My advice for other people who think they may have heart valve disease is to see a heart specialist. Before my diagnosis I had never had my heart checked with a stethoscope by my doctor. I have learnt that this is a really easy way to check for heart valve disease, so I think it would be really beneficial for all patients over 60 to have their heart listened to regularly and for more people to be aware of heart valve disease and its potential risks if left untreated,” says Sue.
For more information about heart valve disease and the treatments available, please visit www.heartvalvevoice.org.
You can also visit www.worldheartfederation.org or follow the hashtag #worldheartday for more information about World Heart Day
You can read more about Sue Jardine’s story by clicking HERE
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