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My Life Story - by Peter Adams

January 2009





My name is Peter Adams (Aged 69). I live in Perth, Scotland.  I have been married for 45 years to Sheila, without whose love and dedication I may have given up.  We have one son, Stuart, who is married to Fiona and they have two boys, Marcus and Daniel; more reasons to keep me going. I was a telephone engineer and took early retirement in 1998.


I have always been an active sportsman, participating over the years in football, golf, badminton, bowls and fishing. It was disappointing and worrying when in 2000/2001 I found myself breathless during these activities. It continued to worsen with flushing, a grey pallor when feeling dizzy and nearly fainting.


After many visits to my Medical Practice and seeing a variety of GPs, I was told the flushing was my natural colour. I was overweight, tested for asthma and tried many different inhalers.  An ECG showed a slightly abnormal reading and I was given a GTN spray to take before exertion, or after, if required.  In 2002, I was deferred to the local Hospital Cardiology Department. During a treadmill test I nearly fainted when the speed and slope were increased.  Next was an angiogram.  The Cardiologist said my arteries were in good condition.  In November 2002, I collapsed whilst going up some stairs and was taken to Hospital.  After many tests it was decided that I had pulmonary embolisms, which was confirmed by a scan done in Dundee.  Many blood thinning injections followed, I was prescribed Warfarin, a short stay in Hospital and then home again.  Back to the Cardiology Clinic.  Despite tests and lots of attention, there was no improvement and it was suggested I may have COPD.


In 2003, I collapsed again and was told that any damage to my heart was miniscule and if blood clots were the cause of my collapse then I was on the correct treatment - Warfarin and I was allowed home.


I was then passed onto the Respiratory clinic where all the same tests were carried out.  Again, failing to come up with a precise diagnosis.  During 2004/2005, I had two further collapses and checks in Hospital.  All of which proved the same as past Hospital tests, so - back to clinic visits.


In 2006 I was feeling the effects of my problem.  I was slowing down physically and putting on weight.  In January 2007, I eventually visited my GP again and he was concerned with my condition.  He said I had severe fluid retention and my liver was distended.  I was admitted to Hospital where litres of fluid were drained from my body.  Thankfully, at this time Dr Peter Brown, Respiratory Consultant, did me a big favour by starting me on home oxygen therapy and referring me to The Scottish Pulmonary Vascular Unit, headed by Professor Andrew Peacock.


The pace from then was quicker.  In February 2007, I had an outpatient appointment at Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow. March 07 I was admitted to the Western Infirmary, Glasgow for tests.  After four days of tests, which included and ECG, Chest x-ray, echocardiogram, lung function tests, 6 Minute Walk Test, VQ Scan, MRI Scan and Cardiac Catheterisation.  The diagnosis was Pulmonary Hypertension & atrial flutter. 


April 07 - following a call from the specialist Unit to my GP, Amiodarone was prescribed.  Also in April 07, Revatio was prescribed and started.


June 07 - Cardioversion was done to regulate my heartbeat.


July 07 - MRI Scan


September 07 - Catheter ablation done at the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow.  Unfortunately, this was not successful.


November 07 - 24 hour heart monitor was requested by the Pulmonary Vascular Unit. The monitor was fitted at Perth Royal Infirmary. The results showed that the atrial flutter had returned.


February 08 - Cardioversion done again at The Western Infirmary, Glasgow - successfully.


I attend the Scottish Pulmonary Vascular Unit Clinic, held now at The Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Clydebank, every 3 months, where everything is done to improve my condition and reassure me by answering and explaining any questions I may have. I have to say that I feel that I am the important person at the Clinic. Nothing seems to be too difficult to a very dedicated staff.


I have joined the Pulmonary Hypertension Association who are very supportive and provide a lot of information in magazine, book and DVD form.  Sheila and I have attended two PHA Conferences where we saw that this disease can affect people of all ages and in many different ways.  At the Conferences an update on possible future treatments was given by distinguished Consultants and this was a boost to everyone concerned.


The conclusion of my and many other sufferers experiences is that the answer to provide a better quality of life is:


"More Awareness of the Disease and early diagnosis"



Peter Adams, Perth


SCOTTISH PULMONARY VASCULAR UNIT - All rights reserved - Clydebank, Scotland - 0141 951 5497 - SPVUnit@gjnh.scot.nhs.uk