Nurse waiting for transplant after suffering heart attack in her 30s

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

A nurse who had a heart attack in her 30s says she feels left behind waiting for a transplant, after not seeing her cardiologist for a face-to-face consultation since 2019.

Sarah Miles had a severe heart attack when she was just 38. She has now suffered with the effects of heart failure for the past eight years and struggles to have the energy to leave her house in Cheddar.

In fact, Sarah said she has not seen the upstairs of her home for at least two years.

She said: "I actually live in this one room, my bed is in this room, the sofa is in this room, the TV is in this room, because the bathroom is down here and I can't manage the stairs anymore.

"I had my children quite young and when I had my heart attack at an age when I thought my life would begin and actually that's when it was the beginning of the end."

Sarah now relies on her son Sam to support her at home Credit: Handout

The mother-of-two has not had a face-to-face appointment with her cardiologist in Birmingham since 2019. This is partly down to the the impact of the pandemic on the NHS but also because Sarah has problems with travel.

She said: "It's just quite debilitating, it's not a happy place to be. A heart transplant is the only option because heart failure has no cure."

There is concern among medical professionals about the impact the pandemic has had for people with heart conditions.

The Institute for Public Policy Research estimates there could be 12,000 extra heart attacks and strokes in England in the next five years without bold government intervention. 

Julie Ward is a cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation, she says the statistics are worrying but people should not be put off getting help.

She said: "The NHS is there for you and it is open. We've got a delay and a backlog of routine procedures, appointments, consultations and tests. But if you felt that things are getting worse, you should seek medical intervention."

Sarah has speaking to her cardiologist at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital virtually over the past year and the medical team are trying to rearrange in person appointments.

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Birmingham said: “We were able to maintain in-person appointments where this was clinically required, however despite strong measures to keep patients safer when coming into our hospitals, many patients did choose to delay their consultations until the risks posed by Covid was lower.

"We are now working to recover all our services to provide the care that our patients need and deserve, in order of clinical priority.”

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