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Help Heal your Heart – Cardiac Rehab Week February 12-18

9th February 2024

Secondary Prevention Nurse Specialist, Geraldine Meredino, Health Care Assistant, Siobhan Quinn, Cardiac Rehabilitation/ Secondary Prevention Nurse Specialist and Marie McCoy, Cardiac Rehab Physiotherapist.

It’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Week and a County Down man has shared his story on how our Trust cardiac rehabilitation team supported his recovery journey.

Nigel Murphy, 59, from Warrenpoint, suffered a heart attack in July 2022 and was rushed to Daisy Hill Hospital.

A heart stent was fitted on transfer to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and after a short period of recovery in Craigavon Area Hospital was discharged.

An echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound test that checks the structure and function of your heart, revealed his heart capacity was only at 36% and a defib would be required if this function did not improve.

Nigel first met Hazel Wilson, one of our Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Specialists when he was offered a cardiac rehab course in Daisy Hill hospital.

Nigel pictured at Daisy Hill Hospital Emergency Department.

Nigel said: “Hazel and the team were a godsend for me. I was speaking face to face with Hazel once a week, we would decide on goals together, where I was going to be in a month, bounce off all my queries and it gave me massive peace of mind.

“I had my blood pressure checked, we would review the exercises and medication in my plan and different health specialists would be there each week for a talk such as a dietitian or physio.”

A former retained firefighter with Warrenpoint Fire and Rescue, Nigel was physically fit with a full time job in a local packaging company and after a second echo scan in January 2023, his heart capacity was at 46%.

Nigel continued to regain his strength and on the anniversary of his heart attack in July 2023, he set himself the target of cycling to the three different hospitals that had treated him. He has continued to fundraise for the Trust, organising most recently a fire service car wash that raised £1500 and the funds were split between our organisation and the charity Life and Time.

Nigel pictured at Craigavon Area Hospital Emergency Department

Hazel explained: “Cardiac rehabilitation helps you to recover and get back to as full a life as possible after a heart attack, heart surgery or following a diagnosis such as heart failure.

“Our team design a programme to meet your individual needs and lifestyle. It could be stopping smoking, or something as simple as eating one extra portion of fruit and vegetables each day. The overall goal is keeping you fit and well and preventing further hospital admissions.

“Nigel was very committed to our programme and we’re thrilled that he has now fully recovered.”

Assistant Director Medicine Chris Wamsley said: “If you have had a heart attack or other heart problem, cardiac rehabilitation is an important part of your recovery. Not only can it help a person progress from a heart problem but it can also prevent future heart issues.

“Our team in Daisy Hill Hospital offer a specialised service with highly skilled staff who are committed to improving the quality of life of our service users.”