"Time is of the essence with my heart, as I have diabetes"

eric pettigrew patient London Hip Unit.jpg

Saleem, 57, keeps an active lifestyle to remain fit and healthy. He plays badminton once a week and goes for a walk in the morning and evening every day. Despite having type 2 diabetes, he continues to have a balanced and energetic life.

At the beginning of 2023, Saleem scheduled a health assessment at his local clinic. His ultrasound and ECG results showed a serious heart abnormality. Saleem says, "I'm glad I had the check-up as I was told I had at least two, maybe three blockages in my coronary arteries. The imaging team weren't 100% certain because the ultrasound test couldn't confirm the diagnosis. He was recommended an angiogram and specialist supervision at HCA Healthcare UK."

Due to the serious nature of his heart condition, Saleem didn't want to waste any time and was keen to get an accurate diagnosis. "Time was of the essence. I wanted to get to the bottom of my heart health and if it meant taking further tests, then I was more than happy if I could get the results immediately," he stressed.

LBH referral consultant surgery.jpg

Coronary pulmonary bypass

Saleem was referred to HCA UK at London Bridge Hospital for angiogram and to meet Mr Chris Young, Cardiothoracic Surgeon. Mr Young was recommended by Saleem’s diagnostic team due to his specialist expertise in cardiothoracic surgery and coronary artery surgery. Saleem says, "I met Mr Young after my angiogram, and I was able to get my results after two days. He wanted to book a coronary pulmonary bypass immediately for the week after."

coronary pulmonary bypass is a surgical procedure to treat coronary artery disease. It aims to bypass heart arteries that have narrowed to restore adequate blood supply to the heart.

Mr Young states, "A cardiopulmonary bypass is a life-saving procedure that can help restore normal blood flow to the heart and can even help reduce the risk of future heart attacks. Saleem had a serious condition – his arteries were blocked, and his heart wasn’t receiving enough oxygen. It was important that we acted quickly as if he didn’t see us earlier, I believe he would have had life-threatening complications. Thankfully, we caught the symptoms early for Saleem."

"It’s easy for the symptoms of artery disease to be masked by diabetes"

Saleem had many questions such as why had he not seen this problem before? Why had he not felt breathlessness, why had he not felt chest pains or had any symptoms? He was feeling anxious but was put at ease by Mr Young. "Although I was worried, I felt assured by Mr Young. He knows how to talk to people like me, who are unfamiliar with medical terminology. I'm now starting to understand the terms, as he took his time to explain the procedure and allow us the opportunity to ask questions."

As well as explaining the procedure to fix the blocked arteries, Mr Young explained that as Saleem has type 2 diabetes, it is sometimes known to suppress cardiac symptoms. Despite living with diabetes, Saleem stays relatively active, so his diagnosis of needing heart surgery was quite a shock. He didn't realise that his diabetes meant that he might not have breathlessness or other cardiac symptoms.

Mr Young has advice for people who have diabetes and coronary artery disease, "It’s easy for the symptoms of artery disease to be masked by diabetes so it's important to regularly monitor your heart if possible."

The day before his operation, Saleem had a pre-registration X-ray and blood tests. The next morning, he arrived early to have the bypass operation. Saleem was discharged from the hospital five days after his surgery. "The process went very smoothly and as planned," says Mr Young, "After the operation the heart was now back at 100%, bright red and oxygenated, as it should be."

A swift recovery

Saleem couldn't believe how quick he was able to get his heart fixed. He highlighted: "I've had such a positive experience I want to jump up and down about it. Going to the hospital or doctor can be a scary and unpleasant time, but after my operation, Mr Young kept coming back to check my progress, visiting when he had time to see how I’m doing. He may not have known how much it meant to me, but it felt genuine and gave me the confidence that him and the whole team were caring for me."

If you feel like you may be at risk for heart-related conditions, it is important to get a heart check-up as soon as possible. Regular check-ups can help to identify early signs of heart disease and can help you to get the treatment and care you need to stay healthy. Your doctor can help you determine the best plan of action for your individual needs.

Read more bout our cardiac services

More patient stories

Yvette's story: From back pain to hip replacement surgery

Yvette's story: From back pain to hip replacement surgery

Yvette (54) a journalist from Kent, started experiencing pain in her hip seven years ago in 2015. An ex-national gymnast who had been incredibly active and flexible her whole life, Yvette felt concerned about the growing discomfort impacting her quality of life, and so sought help from her GP.

A new hip and straight back into the spin of things

A new hip and straight back into the spin of things

Michael's MAKO hip surgery to treat his arthritis

Michael's MAKO hip surgery to treat his arthritis

73 year-old Michael, an avid walker and charity worker, was diagnosed with arthritis in January 2021. After facing long waiting times and increasing pain that was becoming more frequent, he started to look elsewhere for treatment.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.