YOU’D think you’d be able to tell if someone was suffering with a potentially debilitating heart problem, but that’s not always the case.
One woman made it into her late thirties before discovering she had a condition that made her heart race so fast she’d feel faint.
Taylor Giacoma, 44, a musician from Marple, Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, which is a relatively common condition.
However, in rare circumstances it can prove life-threatening.
Taylor says: “I was 38 when I had a funny turn.
“Something didn’t feel quite right, I felt dizzy and my heart was beating very fast.
“For years, I’d occasionally suffered a very rapid heart rate which would come out of nowhere, but otherwise I’d been healthy.
“That night I went to A&E where doctors performed an ECG.
“I’d had a few of these in the past due to irregularities which were never understood, so I was very surprised when the doctor told me I had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.
“I was born with it but it had never been picked up before.
“It’s where an extra electrical connection is present in the heart and this extra bit of tissue can cause the heart to short circuit and beat abnormally fast.
“Many people who have it don’t know they do and even if you do, it might never present a problem.
“But it can be dangerous.
“Sometimes it’s life-threatening, particularly if it happens alongside a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, so often if doctors can correct it, they will.
“In June 2018, I was offered a cardiac ablation – where surgeons burn the connective tissue that doesn’t belong there.
“The first two attempts were unsuccessful but they tried again in November 2019 and it was a success.
“People are often surprised when I tell them I’ve had heart surgery but I’m healthy now and lucky for me, it hasn’t caused any further problems.”
Signs and symptoms
People with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) may experience:
- a pounding or fluttering heartbeat (heart palpitations)
- feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- passing out (fainting)