A WOMAN has described the moment her husband, a police officer, was diagnosed with a dangerous heart defect and his life was in danger.
Lydia Allitt, 44, was “utterly shocked” when she was told in 2015 after an occupational health exam that her husband had a defective heart valve.
Tests revealed he was born with the defective valve, which meant blood was rushing back into the heart, putting extra strain on it.
As a result, his heart muscle had stretched and thinned, putting Ryan’s life in danger.
Lydia, from Willingdon, Eastbourne, said: “The news was a total shock. At the time I never thought anything was wrong with Ryan or that he was in such a dangerous condition.
“One of the doctors told us if it hadn’t been diagnosed for another three months he might not be here today.
“It was an incredibly scary time. Our daughter was just four years old.
“It was a major operation and there were no guarantees as to the outcome.”
Following his diagnosis, Ryan, 43, underwent open-heart surgery at Brighton County Hospital to replace his aortic heart valve.
He is now on medication to reduce his risk of heart attack and stroke and has had to change his career from frontline police force.
While the diagnosis came as a surprise, there were signs of a problem with Ryan’s heart. Lydia said: “In the months leading up to his diagnosis, Ryan felt tired and drained. He just put it down to a physically demanding job, a young family and getting a little older.
“Now we know it was a result of his faulty valve and the fact that his heart had to work harder. I feel very fortunate that Ryan had a job that required him to be medically examined.”
Now Lydia is completing the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Off-Road Cycle Tour from London to Brighton today, Saturday 17th September.
Lydia is grateful for the treatment and care her husband has received and is hoping to raise £1,000 for BHF by taking part in the charity’s London to Brighton off-road cycle tour with her brother and uncle.
The event will see over 2,700 people cycling 61 miles of trails and trails from the capital to the coast.
Lydia, the finance director of her family’s construction company, said: “I love to ride my bike but riding 60 miles off road is going to be a real challenge but knowing I’m doing it for a good cause really motivates me.
“BHF’s work changes people’s lives. Her research paved the way for surgeries like the one that saved Ryan’s life.
“By raising money for them now, I feel like I can give back for the help we’ve received. I also make sure that others can benefit from it in the future.”
Heart defects are the most common congenital abnormality in babies born in the UK.
Heart defects are diagnosed in at least 1 in 150 births – with more diagnoses later in life.
The BHF supports research into heart and circulatory diseases, including congenital heart defects.
People can support Lydia’s fundraiser online: justgiving.com/fundraising/lydia-allitt2
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/21325436.eastbourne-woman-completing-british-heart-foundations-london-brighton-bike-ride/?ref=rss Woman from Eastbourne completing the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton cycle tour