Sheffield doctor kept alive by heart implant

Fran Porter-Young, a junior doctor at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital, addresses the MTG reception at the House of Commons. Fran has a life-changing heart condition, cardiomyopathy.
Fran Porter-Young, a junior doctor at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital, addresses the MTG reception at the House of Commons. Fran has a life-changing heart condition, cardiomyopathy.
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A woman who lives with the risk of a heart attack has spoken to MPs about the medical technology that saved her life.

Fran Porter-Young was 21 when she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy after fainting. The condition that leaves patients constantly at risk of life threatening cardiac arrest.

Fran, who is a qualified junior doctor working in cardiology, spoke to a group of MPs and healthcare professionals at the House of Commons about her condition earlier this month.

She explained how a Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator placed underneath her skin constantly monitors her heart.

When the device detects an abnormal rhythm it delivers an electrical current resetting the heart to a normal rhythm, significantly reducing her risk of death.

She said: “I was an energetic and incredibly sporty person, playing football and rugby to a high level.

“Being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy 30 or 40 years ago would have changed my life completely, but the device I have inside me today has let me continue with my life unimpeded, almost as if nothing was wrong.”

The reception was organised by The Medical Technology Group, which promotes adoption of medical technology devices for NHS patients.

Fran added: “My internal defibrillator is part of me; unobtrusive and safe. Initially it felt intrusive to have the device inside me, but it gives me back control over a life changing condition.”

Fran, who was able to return to her doctor training just weeks after having the device fitted, is now working at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital cardiology ward.

She is able to offer reassurance and insights to patients facing similar operations as her own.