FEATURE MY STORY
Exercise-loving John Curtis, a 57-year-old company director from Chiswick, is the last person you would expect to have a potentially serious heart condition. However, last December he was admitted to the Robert & Lisa Sainsbury Wing at Hammersmith Hospital for heart surgery.
Here John explains how his treatment and subsequent care with Imperial Private Healthcare got him back to fighting fit.
have always been active, running, swimming, cycling, pushing weights and horse-riding. It was during a run last December that I felt an odd tightening in my chest. I saw my GP at my wife’s
insistence and was sent to a rapid-access chest pain clinic to investigate my symptoms due to my family history. Both my father and grandfather had serious heart conditions. At the clinic, an ECG (electrocardiogram) test showed that my heart was not working normally. I was referred to Dr Sukhjinder Nijjer, a consultant cardiologist, at Hammersmith Hospital for more tests. Dr Nijjer carried out a coronary
angiogram, an x-ray test to show whether your arteries supplying blood to the heart are blocked or narrowed. While looking at the images, he told me I would need coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) because one of my arteries was so blocked I was at risk of a heart attack. I had no idea I had such a serious
heart condition. Fortunately, Dr Nijjer explained my scans and treatment to my wife Mylene and I in a thorough and professional manner. He referred us on to Mr. Jonathan Anderson as “a man I would trust with my own life”. We left feeling in good hands.
RAPID TREATMENT My care plan was rapidly put into action. It was a huge relief to have treatment so soon after diagnosis. I saw Mr Jonathan Anderson, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, the next day. Two days later I was admitted to the Robert & Lisa Sainsbury Wing for my heart bypass operation which Mr Anderson performed the following morning. The CABG procedure lasted about
four hours and involved taking a blood vessel from my leg and attaching it to the
artery above and below the blockage to bypass it and enable a healthy blood flow to my heart.
It is major open surgery so I was in
hospital for six days including three in intensive care. The standard of care I had as an inpatient was extremely high. The nursing staff, doctors and surgeons all had an exceptional bedside manner and listened carefully to how I was feeling. The diagnostic tests, equipment, operation, the cleanliness throughout – everything was excellent.
HOME FOR CHRISTMAS I was discharged on Christmas morning in time to sit at the head of the table with my family. Once home I wanted to return to normal but I had just had major surgery. I was exhausted, my muscles had wasted and I’d lost weight. I was told to take things slowly, so I started going on walks, riding a spin bike and gradually incorporating short runs. Even though I was a very fit heart
patient, I was referred to Imperial Private Healthcare’s rehabilitation service at Charing Cross Hospital for exercise classes. I had my heart tested at constant
John Curtis is now largely back to his previous fitness level
workload at the start and end of the rehab period. My heart rate decreased by 30 beats per minute for the same work over nine weeks – a new view for me of how the heart recovers from surgery.
EXCELLENT CONSULTANT ACCESS The access to the clinicians during my recovery was excellent. I had a follow up visit with Mr Anderson and follow-up checks with Dr Nijjer. In June, I had an ECG and echocardiogram (ultrasound heart scan) which showed my heart was returning to its normal shape. Now I am largely back to my previous
fitness levels. As well as my genetic history, I think stress may have played a part in my condition so I intend to approach work with a little less intensity and enjoy life’s moments a little more. I am very grateful for the care I
received at Imperial Private Healthcare to avert a potentially more serious heart condition and return to the things I enjoy doing. I was told at each step who the best people to see were. I knew I was in the best hands with Dr Nijjer and Mr Anderson.” V
“The nursing staff, doctors and surgeons all had an exceptional bedside manner and listened carefully to how I was feeling. The diagnostic tests, equipment, operation, the cleanliness throughout – everything was excellent.”
Imperial Private Healthcare
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