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Sell a story of survival just like a recent SellUsYourStory.com client
We help hundreds of people sell their stories to the media each week. Meet a recent client. This man’s smart watch saved his life after it alerted him to a deadly heart condition – that he’d been unaware of since birth.
Jorge Cox, 22, underwent five hours of open heart surgery in May 2019, at the private Alexandra Hospital in Manchester. This was after alerting medics to worrying heart rate readings from his fancy Apple watch.
The preforming arts student first realised something was wrong when the device recorded heart rate readings of over 130bpm whilst he was resting.
Assuming the readings were to do with his caffeine intake during his stressful university course, he forgot all about it.
But after mentioning it to a nurse – who was checking him over before an unrelated throat procedure – at the Royal Oldham Hospital in November 2018, doctors ran tests and diagnosed him with Aortic Regurgitation – also known as a leaky heart valve.
Could have ‘dropped down dead’ at any time
The condition occurs when the heart’s aortic valve doesn’t close tightly. This results in some of the blood pumped out of the organ’s main camber leaking back into it.
It can lead to sudden heart failure if not treated. Medics told Jorge he could have ‘dropped down dead’ at any time.
Jorge, a graduate from Blackpool and The Fylde College, who lives in Oldham, Manchester, said: ”It all began when I kept getting these heart rhythm readings.
”Basically the Apple Watch tells you if there is a spike in heart rate, but mine kept happening when I was lying down, watching TV or dozing which is unusual.
“Your heart rate usually spikes if you’re doing something strenuous like excising or if you have lots of caffeine.
”It didn’t make much sense, but I put it down to the amount of coffee I was drinking to get through my exams.
”I’d always have at least one large iced coffee from Starbucks each day. Sometimes more. It helped with exam stress so assumed it was the caffeine from that.
Only mentioned it in passing to a nurse
”In fact, I only mentioned it in passing to a nurse who was prepping me for a tonsillectomy because she asked if I had any history of heart problems.
”She was amazing and made sure it was checked out straight away – thank god she did.
”Finding out I was so ill was really scary. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I was terrified for my life.”
Jorge first acquired his Apple watch in November 2016 – when he paid for it himself on finance. He then upgraded to a Series Four model in January 2019.
Without the Apple watch Jorge maintains that he might not be alive to ‘tell the tale’ as doctors warned that he could have ‘dropped down dead’ at any time.
He might not be alive to ‘tell the tale’
Looking back, the singer now believes that he’d ignored other symptoms after mistaking them for normal teen behaviours and school stress.
He said: ”In hindsight, I was always was exhausted, which I now know to be a symptom of the condition.
”I was tired because not enough blood was circulating fast enough, but I just assumed it was normal growing pains.
”All my friends were always knackered too and loved their lieins but I now see that my fatigue was on another level.
”Even though I’m still recovering I still have 50 per cent more energy than I did before – it’s crazy to think I lived so long not knowing how ill I was.
”I also really have to thank my incredible surgeon too, I couldn’t be more grateful.
”Even through the recovery has been such a slog, I’m really glad this has happened, my career is going to be a breeze now I’ve got my heart fixed.”
50 per cent more energy than I did before
Jorge underwent the five hour operation at the private Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle, as the NHS wasn’t able to offer a quick enough slot.
The surgery, which involved breaking his sternum, replaced Jorge’s leaky valve with a new one, giving him a new lease of life.
Medics explained that the condition was most likely a defect since birth and that he’d been ‘very lucky’ to have it finally diagnosed.
Jorge is now recovering well at home and his heart rate and rhythm have returned to normal.
”I feel so blessed. Thank goodness I got an Apple watch, I’d be a walking death trap if I hadn’t,” he said.
”It just doesn’t bare thinking about.
”I have so much respect for that technology.
”I’ve always loved Apple products and now even more so!
”I’m so grateful to the nurse who made the time to get me properly checked out. I owe my life to her too.”
Heart rate is now back to normal
Brave Jorge’s heart rate is now back to normal. He’s being supported through his recovery by his loving parents, Donna, 55, and Paul, 58.
His teacher boyfriend Shane, 23, has also been ‘a rock’ throughout the ordeal.
”My friends and family were almost more worried than me about it. It was really rubbish for them to have to watch me get wheeled away into a serious operation and they’ve admitted to me since they thought they might not see me alive again,” he said.
”I’m over the shock of it all now and just happy to be alive!
”The first few weeks recovery were the worse as I was in a huge amount of pain. However it’s getting better everyday.
”I’m just so excited to get on with my career now – which I’ve had to put on hold while I get better. I can’t wait to get back on stage with a renewed energy.”
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