Rugby stars treated for risky heart condition

Frankie Sheahan: Did not want to interrupt career

Rugby legends Fergus Slattery and Frankie Sheahan and 2FM DJ Will Leahy have all been treated for a dangerous heart rhythm disorder, it has emerged.

More than 40,000 people over the age of 50 have atrial fibrillation, but the vast majority are unaware of it.

However, people with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have a stroke.

The Irish Heart Foundation, supported by Pfizer and BMS, have launched a national radio awareness campaign encouraging adults to have regular pulse checks.

Mr Slattery, who was diagnosed with the condition four years ago, said he knew something was wrong after experiencing unusual breathlessness while Mr Leahy, who was 35 when he was diagnosed seven years ago, said he could not sleep and felt really unwell.

Former Ireland and Munster hooker Frankie Sheahan said he wished he had spoken out about his heart sooner because he felt better than ever after having corrective surgery.

Mr Sheahan said he first experienced symptoms at the age of 30 when his career was thriving but, not wanting to interrupt his rugby career, kept the symptoms a secret.

Atrial fibrillation usually has no symptoms so many do not know they have it.

* www.irishheart.ie


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