Kiran and wife on holiday

Kiran's story: Living with heart disease

“My biggest fear is dropping dead on the train on my way to work, alone and not with my family.

I have heart disease and although I get regular check-ups and look after myself, having a sudden heart attack is always in the back of my mind.

Kiran with his wife

My grandfather died of a heart attack at Tokyo airport on his first overseas trip. My father died of a heart attack at 57... This year I’m turning 57 and I’m more anxious than ever. I’ve realised that my dad wasn’t that old and there’s a lot he missed out on seeing.

I’ve also had a couple of uncles who have passed away from heart failure and cousins who have had stents put in. So it really runs in my family and it’s taken some important people in my life.

Because of my family history of heart disease, I always had an annual stress test. About six year ago, there were some abnormal results and my cardiologist wanted to do more tests. I asked him ‘what is the ultimate way to check this’ and he said to go straight to an angiogram. The week I waited for the angiogram appointment was difficult.

Every pain, every twitch, every feeling... you freak out! You worry about whether you’re going to drop dead or how you’ll react if you do have a heart attack.

The angiogram revealed I had a 95% blockage in my artery. It was not a good result, but I was relieved because they caught it in time and I wasn’t just being paranoid.

I had a stent put in and continue to get tested every year. I take care of myself but my heart disease is mostly genetic. So a lot of it is out of my control. Before the stent, I’d had stress tests every year and this blockage was never picked up. It had to reach that point! I keep thinking, what if I don’t make it to the next appointment before it reaches 100%? It’s a concern I have all the time.

Kiran with his wife and daughter

I’m not ready to go. I want to meet my grandkids and watch them grow up. I want to make sure everyone’s happy and settled especially my wife and daughter. They’re the two most important girls in my life! I’ll do everything I can to make sure this happens.

But I also know heart disease doesn’t let you say goodbye,” - Kiran.

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