Alan, 36, from Kiltipper in Dublin, recalled that his heart attack felt like someone was sitting on his chest.
“My girlfriend rushed me to hospital, and when I got there, I collapsed on the floor and went into cardiac arrest. After being revived, I had another cardiac arrest, and was then fitted with a stent.”
While in hospital, Alan contracted pneumonia and his family was told he had a very low chance of survival, and due to the condition of his heart, it was likely that he wouldn’t make it through the first night in ICU.
“I had a lot going on. But the main thing is that I pulled through. I have hazy memories of waking up at times during that month, but I couldn’t breathe on my own so I needed intubation and ventilation,” Alan said
Despite his ordeal and worrying diagnosis of heart failure, Alan thankfully recovered and was discharged from hospital a few weeks later just in time to successfully pass his fitness instructor exams.
However, he has been left with heart failure as a result of his heart attack.
“I need to be careful – if I’m leaving the house I usually need to rest before this, as the fatigue can hit you hard,"
“Now, living with heart failure, as a result, the left side of my heart doesn’t work at all, and the right side pumps all the blood around to each of my organs,” Alan explained.
With a new diagnosis of heart failure, Alan has made changes to his lifestyle and has been fitted with an ICD.
“I need to be careful – if I’m leaving the house I usually need to rest before this, as the fatigue can hit you hard.
“I exercise regularly, either in the gym, or walking or cycling and I take medication each day and monitor the amount of fluid I drink. In recent months I had an ICD implanted in my chest which gives me great peace of mind.
“Once the ICD is settled in and my 20-month-old daughter is in the creche in a few months I hope to go back to work as a fitness instructor.”
Alan is encouraging all those who have been diagnosed with heart failure to be aware of the symptoms of heart failure and engage with the Irish Heart Foundation’s Heart Support Network – a private Facebook group for people living with heart failure.
Alan, a member of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Heart Support Network said, “I found it very helpful when I came out of hospital initially – everything was new to me so it was nice to hear from and read about people who had gone through the same thing as me.
“It helped me understand that it’s not all doom and gloom, and it helped to get me back on my feet – a great help at a time when I needed it.
“I would definitely encourage people to engage with the supports, to talk it through and not to bottle things up,” he added.