A FATHER who almost died from an undetected heart condition when he collapsed at a football match says more awareness is needed.
Gary Miles, 48, was enjoying an FA cup tie between Blackpool FC at Norwich when he suddenly felt faint and his heart started racing.
He was rushed to A&E where doctors said his heart rate exceeded 220 beats a second and had to be reduced using a defibrillator.
It transpired Mr Miles suffers from a hereditary condition called cardiomyopathy. The father-of-three said he would have died if help hadn’t been at hand.
He said; “I was fortunate I was at a football match and medical support was on hand as this almost certainly saved my life. My condition is common in people aged between 14 and 35 so it was quite late for it to show itself in me and I was completely unaware that I had a heart condition.”
Mr Miles, of Westwood Avenue, Blackpool, has had an implantable defibrillator fitted to his heart which provides a ‘shock’ should his condition re-occur.
He said his main concerns now are his children and to highlight the work carried out by charities such as Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
He said: “With my diagnosis my children are now in the medical ‘loop’ and we have followed a series of genetic testing, scans and ECGs at Alder Hey and these will continue throughout their lives.
“Sadly screening is not performed routinely and it probably takes an illness or worse to involve your family in screening.”
Jill Rutter, whose 15-year-old son Luke died hours after playing tennis at St Annes Tennis Club, said screening is vital to save young people who are apparently fit and healthy. A coroner’s report found underlying health issues were the cause of Luke’s death.
Mrs Rutter added: “Students at Lytham St Anne’s High School did a fantastic job raising money to buy an ECG scanner which will enable more young people to be screened at the school so if something is detected early enough treatment can be arranged.
“Screening is vital to save young people who are apparently fit and healthy.”
A spokesman for CRY said: “Our vision is to work with cardiologists and family doctors to promote and protect the cardiac health of our young by establishing good practice and screening facilities.”
CRY are holding an ECG screening clinic for those aged 14 to 35 at Edge Hill University, St. Helens Road in Ormskirk, Lancashire on Friday February 11.
A fundraising coffee morning in aid of CRY will be held at Fairhaven Methodist Church on Saturday March 5 at 10am.