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22-year-old Shropshire fitness coach who suffered life-changing ‘widow maker’ heart attack

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On January 6 avid gym-goer Faith Harrison was feeling fit and healthy when she drove more than an hour to Stafford to play in a hockey match. She played well, assisting two goals and sprinting around the pitch during the game.

It was not until after the match that she started to feel strange – but she never considered it might be something to do with her heart.

Faith Harrison, a 22-year-old fitness coach, suffered what is known as a ‘widow-maker’ heart attack.

Faith, who is from from Little Minsterley, said: “After the match, I just didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t feel sick or ill, just not like me. I got in my car to drive home and about 30 minutes in, my arm just went numb and tingly, and my chest went very tight like someone was sitting on it.

“I did wonder if something serious was going on, but I could speak and move so I thought I was okay. I never thought it could be to do with my heart.

“I decided to drive to my parents’ house as it was closer than mine. Somehow, I got there, but as soon as I walked in, I said ‘something is wrong’. My parents, my partner Sam, and I all thought my blood sugar was low, but I violently vomited up anything they tried to give me.

“My dad rang 999, but the call handler said it was probably anxiety or a panic attack. By this time, I knew something was seriously wrong, so Sam and my dad took me to A&E at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.”

Faith Harrison, a 22-year-old fitness coach, suffered what is known as a ‘widow-maker’ heart attack.

Doctors told Faith she needed to be taken by ambulance to Royal Stoke University Hospital, the nearest heart centre.

There, tests revealed a blood clot was blocking one of Faith’s coronary arteries by 90 per cent, and that she had been having what is known as a “widow-maker” heart attack for the previous seven hours. She was lucky to be alive.

Faith was also diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a small hole between the top two chambers of the heart which usually closes after birth.

In very rare cases, a PFO can allow a normally harmless blood clot to reach a coronary artery and create a blockage, leading to a heart attack.

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