A manager at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s heart unit almost died after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition.
Dad-of-four David Stott, an operations theatres manager at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre, was told he had pulmonary arterial hypertension, despite being superfit and a keen runner.
The 40-year-old has now spoken out about his ordeal to raise awareness of the illness, which only affects around 6,000 people in the UK.
He said he was told by doctors he is lucky to alive after the condition advanced to a point where it should have killed him three years ago.
He said: “I was taken into hospital where they explained that the pressure on my heart was so great that I should have died by then.
“They also said my life expectancy was about two to three years at that time.”
David, who lives in Preston with his wife Kylie and four daughters, Lorien, two, Matilda, five, Megan, nine, and Abbey, 13, said people are often shocked to hear he has the condition because he seems so well.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is raised blood pressure within the pulmonary arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply the lungs. It can damage the right side of the heart, making the heart less efficient at pumping blood around the body and getting oxygen to the muscles.
“It can affect people very badly,” David said.
“Some people need be on oxygen and can’t leave the house. It was a huge shock to find out I had it and it’s still hard to get over.
“When I was first diagnosed, I discovered it was a very rare condition. The arteries become clogged. This makes the heart work harder and become enlarged.
“I had always been very fit and did lots of sports. Exercising suddenly started to get difficult and I thought it might have been asthma.
“Doctors told me the average life expectancy for people who had gone through what I had was very low. They didn’t say any more than that.
“I was put on medication and things got a lot better. They told me just to try to stay as fit as possible.”
He continued: “I have four kids and I have to think about their future. There is that insecurity. The kids don’t really know much about it. I just try to get on with it.
“At first I was in denial and locked myself away. One step at a time my fitness came back and eventually I thought – I’m not dying.
“I go running but I’m not as fast as I used to be. With the drugs I’m on, I can’t play contact sports.
“I try to run two or three times a week and keep my heart as fit as it can be.”
David, who has raised more than £4,000 through gigs and running events, now hopes a CD released by the band he plays lead guitarist for, Ward XVI, as well as other bands, will raise even more.
To get a copy, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/PHFest and donate £5.