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Keeping Positive While Facing Atrial Fibrillation

Di Gassy Was Enjoying Life When She Was Suddenly Diagnosed With Atrial Fibrillation

Di Gassy and husband Lynton

Leading a healthy and active lifestyle, Di Gassy was enjoying life with her loving husband Lynton when she was suddenly diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, a heart condition she’d never heard of.

Di was enjoying a leisurely walk through a park close to home when she unexpectedly felt dizzy and fell onto a concrete path. Unfortunately, Di was by herself until a stranger came to her aid and called Lynton, who took her to Flinders Medical Centre where she discovered she had broken her hip and wrist.

“The doctors were looking into why I felt dizzy and fell so they put a heart monitor on me, which is when they discovered I had atrial fibrillation. The doctors inserted a ‘loop’ which recorded my heart activity over the next few years,” Di said.

AF is a condition that makes the heart beat out of rhythm and can cause issues such as fainting, dizziness and chest pain.

Over the next few years Di managed her condition through regular appointments with her cardiologist and keeping active. She had two cardioversions, a procedure that is meant to restore a normal heart rhythm by sending electric shocks to the heart.

“Unfortunately, that didn’t fix the problem. Time went on and one day I was visiting my daughter in Sydney when I felt very out of breath walking only a short distance,” Di said.

“I saw my cardiologist when I returned home and he found my heart valve wasn’t closing at all, resulting in an aneurism in my aortic valve. I was rushed to Ashford Hospital and had open heart surgery. I was in intensive care for a week and in an induced coma for five days.”

Despite this major surgery and spending her 70th birthday recovering in hospital, Di maintained a positive attitude.

“If I didn’t have this surgery right away, it would have been a different scenario. I’ve realised how precious life is and I’m thankful for each day,” Di said.

Di realises the importance of medical research, which is why she generously supports Australian Heart Research and The Hospital Research Foundation.

“The Hospital Research Foundation Group is doing a wonderful job supporting research and cures for all diseases. It’s important this research continues to save lives.”

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