August 28, 2018 0 comments

Grant’s Life-Changing Diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation


Imagine being diagnosed with a condition you’ve never heard of. This was the frightening reality for 55-year-old loving father-of-two Grant Octoman who was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AF), a condition affecting the heart, making it beat out of rhythm.

Fit and healthy, Grant never missed a workout and prided himself on running eight kilometres almost every day. However, Grant was unknowingly experiencing signs of AF through episodes of severe sweat, which he put down to travelling for work and a lack of sleep.

While enjoying a weekend in Melbourne with his loving wife Sharron, Grant suffered a stroke in June 2016 and doctors weren’t sure what caused it.

“I was about to watch a football game with my wife Sharron when I began experiencing double vision. We rushed to emergency where I was told I had suffered a mini stroke. At the time doctors couldn’t tell me why,” Grant said.

This experience changed Grant’s life forever. Living in fear he would suffer another stroke, he put his life on hold and even stopped exercising, fearing the worst. At home six months later Grant knew something was wrong and checked himself into hospital where he met Professor Prashanthan (Prash) Sanders, a clinician-scientist specialising in heart rhythm disorders at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) who finally diagnosed him with AF.

“I had never heard of Atrial Fibrillation before but felt relief when I was diagnosed as I now knew what I was dealing with. I also found out the condition contributes to a third of all strokes, explaining why I suffered my stroke six months earlier,” Grant said.

Jeroen Hendriks and Prash Sanders

You may remember reading about Prof Sanders and Dr Jeroen Hendriks’ promising AF research in our newsletter. Their research is proudly supported by AHR, thanks to your kind donations. You’re helping to save the lives of people like Grant.

Dr Hendriks is working with Prof Sanders to develop a specialised, multi-disciplinary clinic at the RAH that has an integrated care (i-CARE) approach for the management of AF. The i-CARE clinic will combine the important care components for AF and ensure collaboration between specialists, nurses and allied professionals all while maintaining a patient-centred approach to treatment.

“I believe our clinic will save lives and prevent life-threatening outcomes for those who suffer from AF. I think the way forward is to redesign our care processes for treating AF and if we don’t, the prevalence will continue to rise,” Dr Hendriks said.

“I’m so grateful for the funding we have received towards our clinic through AHR and THRF. Funding is absolutely crucial otherwise we cannot keep conducting our research that will help Australians and those around the world who have AF.”

Thanks to you, this vital research will help those like Grant living with AF.

“I can’t help thinking if I knew what AF was I could have prevented my stroke but I’m glad I was finally diagnosed and I am now managing my AF independently through lifestyle factors,” Grant said.

If you would like to find out more or donate to Prof Sanders and Dr Hendriks research, click here. Thank you!

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