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Patient story: Ken Nipperess

Ken Nipperess

My story begins when I was diagnosed some years ago (at least 15 years) with premature atrial contractions (PACs) as a consequence of a referral from my GP to a cardiologist after reporting chest palpitations.

An ECG showed distinct premature atrial contractions. I was asymptomatic apart from the presence on palpitations which presented without any obvious trigger (including any exercise) and persisted for approximately 10-30 seconds. Due to me having no symptoms a ‘watching brief’ was agreed as appropriate.

Subsequently, some years later a routine health check with my local GP included an ECG. From the ECG it was noted that the PACs were less evident, however premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) were present. Again, I was asymptomatic.

My GP referred me to Dr Larsen for further investigation. Dr Larsen conducted an ECG and blood tests. Subsequently, Dr Larsen suggested I have a CT angiogram. At this point the whole game changed. Examining the CT post-angiogram, Peter observed a significant blockage to my left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery. PVCs seemed to take a back seat (for now).

I was promptly booked by Heart HQ into the Cath Lab for a CT angiogram. The CT image (below) showed a 95% blockage of my LAD. I was almost amused by Peter’s relaxed approach to remedy this problem. “The CT is showing a 95% LAD blockage. We’ll fix that this afternoon”… I was going to ask if I could have fries with that but thought better of it!

A stent was subsequently inserted reestablishing 100% blood flow (see second image below). Routine post-stent medications were prescribed and I returned to work a few days later.

My take on this experience was that I regarded myself extremely fortunate to have an astute GP and cardiologist both on their game. Colleagues of mine never miss the chance of reminding me that a LAD is colloquially known as the ‘widow maker’. My spin on things is that further occlusion of the LAD would have resulted in a significant heart attack, which, given the artery involved, suggests a high probability of being fatal. I was sooooo lucky.

Thanks to the Heart HQ team and Peter for looking after me. I can’t emphasise how important it is to be vigilant with your health ensuring you leave nothing to chance.

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