A WOMAN has described the moment her police officer husband was found to have a dangerous heart defect and his life was in danger.
Lydia Allitt, 44, was in ‘total shock’ when she was told her husband had a faulty heart valve after a medical examination at work in 2015.
Tests revealed he was born with the faulty valve, which meant blood was flowing back into the heart, putting it under extra pressure.
As a result, his heart muscle stretched and thinned, putting Ryan’s life in danger.
Lydia, from Willingdon, Eastbourne, said: ‘The news has been a complete shock. At the time, I never imagined that anything was wrong with Ryan or that he was suffering from such a dangerous disease.
“One of the doctors told us that if it hadn’t been diagnosed for another three months, he might not be here today.
“It was an incredibly scary time. Our daughter was only four.
“It was a big operation, and there were no guarantees as to what the outcome would be.”
Following his diagnosis, Ryan, 43, underwent open heart surgery at Brighton County Hospital to replace his aortic heart valve.
He is now on medication to reduce his risk of heart attack and stroke and had to change careers away from frontline policing.
While the diagnosis came as a surprise, there were signs of a problem with Ryan’s heart. Lydia said: “In the months leading up to his diagnosis, Ryan felt tired and tired. He simply attributed this to having a physically demanding job, a young family, and getting a bit older.
“Now we know it was a consequence of his faulty valve and his heart having to work harder. I feel very lucky that Ryan got a job where he had to pass a medical.
Now Lydia completes the British Heart Foundation (BHF) London to Brighton Off-Road Bike Ride today, Saturday 17th September.
Grateful for the treatment and care her husband has received, Lydia hopes to raise £1,000 for the BHF by taking part in the charity London to Brighton Off Road Bike Ride with her brother and uncle.
The event will see over 2,700 people pedaling 61 miles along tracks and trails from the capital to the coast.
Lydia, who is the financial manager of her family’s construction business, said: “I love cycling but doing 60 miles off-road is going to be a real challenge, but knowing that I’m doing it for a cause motivates me. really.
“The work of BHF changes people’s lives. Their research paved the way for operations like the one that saved Ryan’s life.
“By raising money for them now, I feel like I’m giving back the help we’ve received, I’m also making sure others can benefit in the future.”
Heart defects are the most common birth defect in babies born in the UK.
Heart defects are diagnosed in at least one in 150 births – with more diagnoses later in life.
The BHF funds research into heart and circulatory diseases, including congenital heart disease.
People can support Lydia’s fundraising online: justgiving.com/fundraising/lydia-allitt2