John Curtis

Exercise-loving John Curtis was admitted to the Robert & Lisa Sainsbury Wing at Hammersmith Hospital in December 2016 for heart surgery.

“I have always been active, running, swimming, cycling, pushing weights and horse-riding. It was during a run that I felt an odd tightening in my chest.

I saw my GP at my wife’s insistence and was sent to a rapid-access chest pain clinic to investigate my symptoms due to my family history of serious heart conditions.

At the clinic, an ECG (electrocardiogram) test showed that my heart was not working normally. I was referred to Dr Sukhjinder Nijjer, a consultant cardiologist, at Hammersmith Hospital for more tests.

Dr Nijjer carried out a coronary angiogram, an x-ray test to show whether your arteries supplying blood to the heart are blocked or narrowed. While looking at the images, he told me I would need coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) because one of my arteries was so blocked I was at risk of a heart attack.

Fortunately, Dr Nijjer explained my scans and treatment to my wife Mylene and I in a thorough and professional manner. He referred us on to Mr. Jonathan Anderson as “a man I would trust with my own life”. We left feeling in good hands.

My care plan was rapidly put into action. It was a huge relief to have treatment so soon after diagnosis. I saw Mr Jonathan Anderson, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, the next day. Two days later I was admitted to the Robert & Lisa Sainsbury Wing for my heart bypass operation which Mr Anderson performed the
following morning.

“The standard of care I had as an inpatient was extremely high”

Excellent consultant access

“The CABG procedure lasted about four hours and involved taking a blood vessel from my leg and attaching it to the artery above and below the blockage to bypass it and enable a healthy blood flow to my heart.

It is major open surgery so I was in hospital for six days including three in intensive care. The standard of care I had as an inpatient was extremely high.
The nursing staff, doctors and surgeons all had an exceptional bedside manner and listened carefully to how I was feeling. The diagnostic tests, equipment, operation, the cleanliness throughout – everything was excellent.

I was discharged on Christmas morning in time to sit at the head of the table with my family. Once home I wanted to return to normal but I had just had major
surgery. I was exhausted, my muscles had wasted and I’d lost weight. I was told to take things slowly, so I started going on walks, riding a spin bike and gradually incorporating short runs.

Even though I was a very fit heart patient, I was referred to Imperial Private Healthcare’s rehabilitation service at Charing Cross Hospital for exercise
classes. I had my heart tested at constant workload at the start and end of the rehab period. My heart rate decreased by 30 beats per minute for the same work
over nine weeks – a new view for me of how the heart recovers from surgery.

The access to the clinicians during my recovery was excellent. I had a follow up visit with Mr Anderson and follow-up checks with Dr Nijjer. In June, I had an ECG and echocardiogram (ultrasound heart scan) which showed my heart was returning to its normal shape.

I am very grateful for the care I received at Imperial Private Healthcare to avert a potentially more serious heart condition and return to the things I enjoy
doing. I was told at each step who the best people to see were. I knew I was in the best hands with Dr Nijjer and Mr Anderson.”