Recently some budding young reporters from the British Heart Foundation came to see me at Heart FM for a little chat – click here to watch the video. Since then, Ive had lots of emails and people asking me about the hole in my heart – including: what is it? Whats it like? How big is it? Can I see it? Will you die early because of it….I hope not!!
Thought I’d answer a few of those questions in one go…
A hole in the heart sounds scary to many people, but its not actually a hole through your heart in the same way that you might imagine a hole through a brick wall. Let me explain more….sorry if any of this sounds like I’m teaching you to suck eggs, just want everyone to understand.
The heart has two sides, the right side receives oxygen poor blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs and the left side receives oxygen rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the body. The inner wall, called septum, separates the two, and basically, thats where the hole lies.
All this means is that some oxygen rich blood is pumped to the lungs instead of the body. If you listen to a normal heart beat it’ll go ‘boom boom – boom boom – boom boom’ – thats the sound of the valves opening and closing. If you listen to someone who has a hole in the heart you can actual hear the hole, my heart beat goes ‘boom boom ssshh – boom boom ssshh – boom boom ssshh’ The ‘ssshh’ sound is the rush of blood through the hole from one side to another.
Does it hurt? No. Can i see it? Of course not, unless you have an ultrasound machine to hand!! Will I die young because of it….funny you ask that, I asked my doctor the same question when I was younger, I phrased it slightly differently ‘what with me having a faulty heart, will it last as long as a normal one?’ The doctor looked at me and laughed, the answer was yes, thank goodness!
How has having a hole in heart affected my life? It hasn’t massively, I was one of the lucky ones, didn’t have to have an operation or anything like that. The doctors hoped it would close up on its own, unfortunately it hasn’t, but over time it has shrunk and its smaller than the eye of a needle now.
As I was growing up, I was more aware of my heart than the average kid. Any pains or problems and I had to go see the doc straight away. I had to have regular check-ups at the hospital too, where they’d stick probes and monitors on me. I didn’t overdo it when it came to exercise and sports at school either, although I did swim lots, one of the best exercises for building up a strong and healthy heart. From a very young age my mum made me go swimming, and at one stage I was swimming 4 times a week for an hour, luckily I enjoy swimming!
Ive been supporting the British Heart Foundation for the last few years – not just because of my situation, but also because my dads had problems with his heart recently, and if it wasn’t for the brilliant research they do, my dad may not be here now. Thats how the interview came about really, we’ve come full circle, hope thats answered some of the questions. Any more, drop me a line through the website robertoradioandtv.com
Chat soon x