Express & Star

'My heart was dead in 17 places – a hospital rehabilitation programme has helped me recover'

A mum who discovered she had a heart condition after it was detected on a routine test has praised a rehabilitation programme at a Wolverhampton hospital for helping her get on the mend.


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Alison Fenlon, from Wednesfield, was referred to the specialist cardiac programme at New Cross Hospital after a routine electrocardiogram (ECG) picked up a problem with her heart.

The ECG showed she had a heart rate of 190 beats per minute (bpm), when an average resting heart rate is between 60 to 100bpm.

As a result, she was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), a condition which causes your heat to beat quicker than normal.

An MRI scan also showed the 63-year-old had suffered a heart attack and that 17 parts of her heart were dead.

Staff at the Cardiac Rehab and Heart Failure team at New Cross Hospital and patient, Alison Fenlon

Alison said: "I have been put on medication to help and I may need a stent or pacemaker.

"My heart condition has had a profound effect on my quality of life – a busy day wipes me out and I have to stay in bed sometimes.

"It has also affected my mental health and I get quite down when I can't manage things. On a recent holiday to Italy, I couldn't do as much sightseeing as I would have liked."

The retired mum-of-two said the rehabilitation programme, which is run by The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, has helped her whilst she awaits further treatment for her condition.

She added: "My treatment has been fabulous – I can't fault it. These sessions have been like a comfort blanket for me and I will be sad when they are finished.

"Everyone has been wonderful all the way along from when they first realised there was an issue with my heart. I can't speak highly enough of them."

Another patient who has praised the hospital's programme is children's mental health services worker, Simon Northcott.

The 52-year-old started having cardiac issues in 2012 and was diagnosed with persistent atrial fibrillation and dilated cardiomyopathy with severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction.

Simon said: "I was struggling to breathe at night and was referred for a scan which showed the left side of my heart was inflamed.

“I had another scan at New Cross which showed that only six per cent of my heart was working which was very frightening.

"I had to spend 14 days in hospital and had to have a series of cardiac ablations, which is a treatment to stop irregular heartbeats."

Simon started the cardiac rehabilitation course in February last and described it as "life changing".

He said: "The whole team were so supportive and friendly. They really gave you confidence and made me feel like I was getting my life back.

"I can only thank them for the amazing care they have given me. Slowly but surely, I am now seeing improvements and my heart is operating at about 55 per cent. I am so grateful to the team."

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