Idiopathic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia – My Story by Hollie Bell

Since having my little boy 3 years ago this month I haven’t really felt well and have been suffering palpitations, dizzy spells and feeling breathless. My GP just kept putting it down to post natal depression and anxiety. I would only get the funny palpitations about 10 days before my period was due, and then they would stop once it had began.

On the 31st May 2018, I went to bed as normal after not feeling all that well most of the week. My husband and I were trying for baby number two and because I was feeling unwell just assumed I might potentially have been pregnant.

At approx 4am my husband woke in the night to me making what he says were ‘demonic noises’. He elbowed me in the side and the noise stopped but I didn’t move. I’m generally a very light sleeper. He went to the loo and when he came back, there was still no movement. At this point he was alarmed and tried to wake me to discover I was unresponsive. He pulled me up into a sitting position and I remember coming round but feeling very unwell. I was cold and shivering and felt so sick and needed to be sick but I couldn’t walk to the toilet so he carried me – at this point I knew something was really wrong. I told him to call 111 and he then went back into the bedroom and realised the bed was wet so I had obviously lost bodily function, which I had no idea about.

An ambulance was called and I was taken to my local hospital, my mum looked after our little boy who was still sleeping. I walked into the hospital and was sat up talking, took myself off to do a urine sample and came back to the bed, at this point I felt dizzy and my husband said he saw a drop on the heart monitor, asked me if I could feel and I responded with ‘that’s what my palpitations always feel like.’ Then I can’t remember much more. I had crashed and had gone into cardiac arrest and my husband couldn’t believe what was unfolding, a crash team came in and gave me two rounds of CPR, followed by two shocks which I recovered from, but awoke very confused. I was repeating myself and was completely blind – there was a worry my brain function was impacted.

I then crashed a 2nd time and needed to be resuscitated and shocked again this time I recovered quicker. The doctors and nurses had never seen the type of VT I was having and the electrophysiologist decided to get me into the cath lab ASAP to ablate, however once detected he was unsure of what he had seen and referred me to St George’s Hospital for a 2nd opinion.

They took me off a drug used to stabilise me, and low and behold the funny episodes had stopped all of my tests came back normal, so it was decided that I was fitted with a Subcutaneous ICD as precaution just in case it happened again.

I couldn’t get my head around everything, I had been diagnosed with Idiopathic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia which is very rare and they have not seen many cases.

I went home after 2.5 weeks in hospital and tried to adjust to my new life, the box was painful and I was still very sore from all the chest compressions given, but decided to throw myself into fundraising for CRY. I joined the network whilst in hospital and got loads of comments from others of reassurance about the ICD.

CRY and myheart has been the best support network for me and such a comfort, I had to do something. I didn’t want this awful ordeal to happen to anymore young people. I was so lucky I still had my life and fought death 3 times, some people are not so lucky.

We have just gone through tests to find the cause of my VT and I am currently waiting for an ablation, which will be scheduled for the new year.

Hopefully I’ll then be able to continue with my plans of more children and progress all my future plans, just with a different outlook on life now.. which is an amazing one!

I’m determined to raise awareness to other women who might potentially be having palpitations after pregnancy, because before my baby I was fine, a competitive Irish dancer for 20 years with NO symptoms. I will be talking to all my local MP’s to see if they will support the CRY movement in parliament!

To date, I have raised £1,400 for CRY by doing  5K challenges, I have so far done three and have three more to go at the beginning of next year! 

Life is short, we have to embrace each day and live in every moment! Regardless of age!

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