Susan's journey to heart health

Healthy heart

A family history of cardiac issues and annual check-ups unveiled a series of new conditions.

The Harley Street Clinic - Cardiac Patient Story

Susan's story

When 74-year-old Susan Keane attended her yearly catch up with Diana Holdright, Consultant Cardiologist at The Harley Street Clinic, she wasn’t entirely surprised when she was referred for electrophysiology tests as an irregular heartbeat is something which runs in her family.

She was also referred to Dr Oliver Segal, Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, also at The Harley Street Clinic, for an initial consultation to discuss the results of these tests and her treatment options.

Investigating Susan’s heart rhythm problems

Dr Oliver Segal, CardiologistSusan had her first appointment with Dr Segal, which she arranged through her private medical insurance company National Friendly. By using her medical insurance, which she pays into each month, she was able to get rapid access to Dr Segal, a consultant who specialised in heart rhythm problems.

At her first face-to-face appointment, he discussed the results of her tests – Susan was diagnosed with an atrial flutter. This is an abnormal heart rhythm which causes the upper chambers of the heart (atria) and the lower chambers (ventricles) to beat at different speeds. This can put the heart under immense strain and can lead to palpitations and feeling light-headed. 

She was told that the best course of treatment for this would be cardiac ablation, a treatment which aims to control or correct certain types of abnormal heart rhythms by using either heat or freezing on the area of the heart that is causing the abnormal heart rhythm.

‘I felt so well looked after’

Before she was admitted to hospital, she had a COVID-19 test, which came back as negative and meant everything was able to go ahead as planned. Commenting on what it was like coming into hospital, Susan added:

Coming into hospital and having the procedure was such an efficient process. I felt like I was the only person being admitted. The only people I had contact with on my admission was the lovely gentleman at the entrance who instructed me to wash my hands and hand in my registration form, and the gentleman who showed me to my room.

Once I was settled in my room, Dr Segal then introduced me to the anaesthetist and nurses – they all made me feel so relaxed ahead of my procedure. The procedure went to plan and after arriving at 7.00am that morning, I was out and on my way home by 4.00pm. Everyone who I met was incredibly impressive - I felt so well looked after.

Exposing a different condition altogether

A few weeks after Susan was discharged, during her follow-up consultation, Dr Segal discovered that whilst the cardiac ablation fixed Susan’s atrial flutter, it exposed another arrhythmia concern, which meant she would need to come back into hospital for cardioversion – a procedure which uses an electric shock, delivered from a defibrillator, to help get the heart’s rhythm back to normal.

When she returned for this procedure once again, Susan couldn’t fault the care she received: ‘I followed exactly the same protocol as the time before and all went exactly as was expected. I was greeted by equally lovely hospital staff - I can honestly say that my visits to The Harley Street Clinic were the best hospital experiences I’ve ever had.’

Four operations later and Susan’s journey is complete

Whilst the cardioversion was successful in restoring the rhythm of her heart, it was advised that Susan undergo two further operations with Dr Segal and Mr John Yap, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at The Harley Street Clinic, to fix the atrial fibrillation. She had her final operation in February 2021 and couldn’t be happier with the results:


My family have had ongoing problems with their heart, so I knew from the get-go that there might be a few bumps in the road, but I couldn’t be happier with the care I’ve received – I've felt very reassured and had each step explained to me in so much detail. Now that I’ve had these operations, all of which took place smoothly during the COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t wait to now continue with my life, worry free!


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