Rachel's stent

Rachel was just 37 when she started experiencing crushing pains in her chest, arms and throat.

She put the pain down to being unfit. But when she did go the gym, the pain was so intense, it made her cry.

ECG stress test

"I can't believe I lived with the pain for so long without getting help. We're all under pressure, perhaps even more so as women, to stave off illness and stay well for our families and our work. But our body has the deepest wisdom. We must listen to it."

"When I finally told the doctor what I was going through, she referred me to a cardiologist. All the while reassuring me that it was incredibly unlikely that a slim woman of my age would have heart disease."

But Rachel's ECG stress test did suggest there was something wrong. She ended up having a stent fitted to hold open the walls of a narrowed artery.

Rachel says she was terrified another artery would narrow and she might have a heart attack. 

Being so young and slim, people seemed to find it inconceivable that she could have a serious heart problem. She found it was very isolating.



Healing after stent fitting

"Looking back, it was an awful time. I had gone back to work just a couple of weeks after the procedure. But there were complications with my help and I was struggling to cope. My firm was very understanding, but 7 months later I had to take some time out."

“I ‘recovered’ by rebuilding my home. I stripped everything right back and built it back up again. Metaphorically, it was what I was doing with my life as well.”

A few years later Rachel had a son, Oscar. She knows it’s more important than ever to stay well.

What are stents?

A stent is a small tube that's inserted into a coronary artery during an angioplasty.

Others living with angina

The first stent was inserted in 1986 in France and since then, it's become a common treatment to treat narrowed arteries. Here are stories from other people who live with angina:

Len's heart bypass surgery
Al's angina

Support life saving heart research

BHF Professor Steve Watson and his team are currently deciphering how blood cells form dangerous clots. Your donations help fund this critical research. More research leads to better techniques and new approaches in helping people like Rachel. Help us fight for every heartbeat by donating.