Patient 564

Patient 564

Friday 4th December 2020

COVID-19 has placed a huge strain on the NHS and led to the delay of thousands of appointments and heart valve disease treatments. But behind every number is a story, and this is the story of Patient 428. All individual's identities have been kept anonymous.

"I am a 29-year-old woman waiting to be treated for severe aortic stenosis.

Heart valve disease has always been a part of my family history after my sister had a pulmonary valve replacement when she was a baby. Sadly, she passed away with aortic stenosis just two years ago at the age of 23.

Last year, I went to the doctors with a chest infection, and they detected a murmur. At first, they weren’t sure if it was anything. Still, considering my family history, they decided to air on the side of caution and refer me for an echo. At the echo, I was diagnosed with mild aortic valve disease.

Then earlier this year, my Cardiologist found that my mild valve disease had deteriorated to severe in just 12 months, and I was referred for priority surgery based on my valve disease and my family history.

In October my surgeon said it would be done in weeks, but because of work and financial reasons I couldn’t do the day they gave me. It was meant to be done in November, but that has been put back, and now I’m just calling each week to see if I am on the seven-day list.

It’s getting to the point now where my symptoms are seriously affecting my ability to work, the chest pain and breathlessness is reducing my activity, and I’m also anxious because of what happened to my sister. I understand that the situation is challenging, and I sympathise with the hospital. But my life is on hold, I can’t plan for the time I’ll need off work, and I can’t plan for someone to take care of me post-op. I just need to be treated so I can get back to my life."

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