A woman has told of her anxiety that her condition may worsen as she waits months to receive treatment for a condition that can cause strokes, dementia and heart failure.
Angela Kenny, 57, from Clackmannanshire, experienced atrial fibrillation (AF) for the first time in 2020.
AF is an abnormal, irregular heart rhythm in the top chambers of the heart which can feel like your heart is fluttering.
After a four-week wait in 2020, Ms Kenny had a successful cardioversion at Forth Valley Royal Hospital – a procedure that used a controlled, electric shock to shock her heart back into a normal rhythm.
However, in September 2023 she once again went into AF, and Ms Kenny, a care assistant in a hospital in Forth Valley, has been unable to work since.
When she saw a cardiologist in November, she was told she would have to wait longer for the procedure this time.
She said: “They said I might wait 8-9 weeks for another cardioversion, but I’ve been living with this for four months already.”
It is understood Ms Kenny is due to be seen at an outpatient clinic later this week.
If the procedure does not work, Ms Kenny may require an ablation – another procedure to restore a normal heart rhythm.
She said: “The cardiologist told me waiting time for ablation in our area is between nine and 10 months.”
Ablation is not provided in the NHS Forth Valley area and is provided at a specialist cardiology centre in either Glasgow or Edinburgh.
In the meantime, Ms Kenny, who is married and has three daughters, is increasingly worried, and has palpitations, breathlessness, and feels dizzy.
Ms Kenny’s father died of a heart attack aged 39 and her sister had a cardiac arrest 12 years ago.
Last month, she experienced chest pains and called an ambulance but was told there were none in her area and she should make her own way to A&E.
Her husband, Brian, was able to take her, and she waited five hours before finally being seen by a doctor at 3am. She was told the pain was due to the AF.
She added: “I’m anxious because the longer this goes on, the more damage there could be to my heart, and it could ultimately cause heart failure.”
Forth Valley Health Board was contacted for comment.