Jamie portrait

Jamie's Story: Long QT

Jamie, a father of three young children, did not know he was walking around with a time bomb, slowly ticking away inside his chest. He found out the hard way – by collapsing after running a half marathon and dying.

“As soon as I stopped I realised something was definitely wrong. I grabbed onto the fence but pushed myself away as I knew I was going to collapse. It was an eerie feeling”.

He was lucky to collapse near a first aid station. St John Ambulance volunteers rushed to him, ready to jolt his heart back to life. Each second counted as he was clinically dead for six minutes.

Jamie with his family

Diagnosed with Long QT

It took weeks in hospital before he was diagnosed with a heart condition known as Long QT, a heart rhythm disorder that is usually only discovered during an autopsy, even though 10% of Australians have the syndrome.

Jamie has now been fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). The device detects and corrects abnormal heart rhythms, making it necessary for Jamie to make only minor adjustments to his life.

Jamie’s passion remains soccer, a game he started playing again this year at a less vigorous pace than before.

Thanks to his insurance, as he calls the ICD, and bi-annual check-ups, he is thriving, leading a normal life, treasuring the time with his children and wife Kylie. They have been screened for the disease, as has his parents and siblings and they are all thankfully well.

The ICD is a prime example of how research can lead to life saving discoveries. The device evolved from an idea in 1966 to its first human trials in 1980. To this day improvements continue as the ICD has shrunk since it was implanted in Jamie’s chest.

He knows he was lucky to survive and wants to help the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute prevent others dying suddenly, because of undetected heart arrhythmia.

“To detect or prevent these things happening in the future is awesome”.

Breakthroughs in Long QT Research

In a brilliant breakthrough, a team of eminent computer scientists and cardiac specialists at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute identified a signature heart beat pattern to better detect heart abnormalities.

Through a combination of video gaming technology and CSIRO’s super computer, hundreds of thousands of heart beats can now be screened in just 10 days – a job that would have taken 21 years to complete on a desktop PC!

This innovative discovery will lead to faster and more accurate diagnoses for people like Jamie, and ultimately better treatment plans.

You can help families struggling with heart disease by supporting vital discoveries at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years