Kay’s Heart Failure Story

Kay Flynn is 67 years old. She lives in Sligo with her husband, Michael, where she worked as a registrar for the HSÉ. She has two grown up children and one grandchild.

She is also living with heart failure.

Kay had a heart incident in November 2012, while on her lunch break from work. She went into cardiac arrest on her way into the hairdressers and was in an induced coma for three days. Following on from this incident, Kay was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. Because of the damaged caused by the cardiac arrest, Kay then went on to develop heart failure.

As part of her treatment for Cardiomyopathy, Kay was fitted with an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator). Both of Kay’s children also have this condition, with her son experiencing a very similar cardiac arrest aged 42, for which he was subsequently fitted with an ICD. Her daughter was then fitted with an ICD as a precautionary measure.

Kay experienced no symptoms prior to her cardiac arrest, and doesn’t recall experiencing symptoms of heart failure prior to her diagnosis. She had been ill with cancer two years prior to her cardiac arrest, and had received chemotherapy. Kay also had a family history of heart problems, with both of her parents dying from heart incidents.

When asked if she had any advice for those experiencing symptoms or worried about heart failure, she said “Go and get checked – if you have any symptoms, even if you might think they’re innocent – get checked. I would especially urge those with a family history or more than one symptom to get checked immediately.”

Kay is currently doing a cardiac rehab course in Sligo – and is now feeling much better thanks to the care she has received, though she does still experience some symptoms, such as breathlessness.

Kay Flynn was interviewed by Croí on her experiences of Heart Failure as part of the Global Heart Hub ‘Red Flag Campaign’. This project aims to highlight the signs and symptoms of heart failure – and encourage those experiencing these symptoms to go to their GP and ask “Could it be heart failure?”

Croí is joining The Global Heart Hub and other organisations across 15 counties in this campaign to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart failure. The campaign can be followed online at #raisetheflag and www.globalhearthub.org.

Kay is raising the flag on heart failure this May

Raise the Flag

“Go and get checked – if you have any symptoms, even if you might think they’re innocent – get checked. I would especially urge those with a family history or more than one symptom to get checked immediately.”`