Joe’s warning after major heart surgery

Joe Lowe has made a welcome return to the business after major heart surgery.

Our service manager underwent a triple heart bypass in December and is currently working part-time after nearly three months recuperation.

Joe, 57, is now urging people to get pains and health problems checked out because it could save their lives.

He had been suffering pain at the base of his neck and under his collar bones and had a problem breathing when he walked briskly uphill, ran or cycled for four years but it went away when he stopped the exercise.

He thought he had strained something but tests on his muscles and joints showed nothing wrong and he put it down to wear and tear.

“I felt fine most of the time but, when I exercised, I had this pain,” he said.

In January of last year a physiotherapist suspected that Joe might have had a heart problem. Further tests showed he had angina and that the arteries to the left side of his heart were blocked but, because he was so fit, the right side of his heart had grown more blood vessels to compensate.

It turned out that eight of the 17 sections of his heart were not working properly.

His mother’s side of the family have a history of heart disease and, while Joe was struggling with his health, she had a heart attack and needed a stent and is now fully recovered. Both of them had angiograms within days of each other and Joe’s results were worse than his mother’s.

Following further tests, Joe needed urgent surgery and in mid-December he had his triple bypass operation with arteries and veins taken from his leg, arm and chest.

He urged anyone with persistent neck and chest pain to see their doctor as it could be angina.

“I want to make sure that people, even if they have only one thing wrong that might appear to them to be minor, follow up on it.

“If you are fit, your body will try and compensate and this is a problem. That’s why my angina was not as bad as other people’s but being fit has also helped my recovery.

His consultant said that if he had had a heart attack it would have been massive and he would have died. He also said the first couple of hours of his operation were touch and go as his heart had gone into ‘hibernation’.

“I still find I’ve not got any stamina,” said Joe who hopes to be fully fit again soon and working full time again.

We’re so pleased to have you back Joe.