A 22-year-old woman from Eglinton, County Londonderry suddenly collapsed while out for lunch with her friends.
Aoife Boyle, who has no family history of heart conditions, suffered seven cardiac arrests in eleven days after collapsing during lunch with her friends in a pub last month.
“Aoife was meeting her friends for lunch at a pub, they just got in through the door, they didn’t even make it to sit down, and the next thing she just collapsed and started taking seizures,” Aoife’s mother, Tanya Boyle told BBC News NI.
“They rang me straight away, telling me to just get there quick.”
Ms. Boyle said she would always be grateful that Aideen McGuiness, one of Aoife’s friends, was a trained nurse.
Ms. McGuiness gave Aofie CPR until paramedics came.
Aoife was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, and then she was airlifted to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, England.
Ms. Boyle added that her daughter suffered seven cardiac arrests and needed to be restarted every time.
“Within 11 days she had seven cardiac arrests,” Ms. Boyle told BBC News NI.
“Five of them she stopped breathing and they had to do CPR, two of them they didn’t have to do CPR but they had to sedate her to shock her to get the rhythm of her heart back.
“When we got to Newcastle, we were told her heart function was between 10 and 20%.”
Aoife told the BBC that she barely remembered passing out in the pub or being taken to the hospitals in Derry and Belfast.
“It was only when I got to Newcastle and I started on different medications,” she said. “I would have my good and bad days, but then reality slowly started to hit.
“I wouldn’t have been an anxious person before but I got really anxious, I didn’t let mommy out of my sight.
“The cardiac arrests would mostly happen when I was asleep at night so I was terrified to sleep.”
“Any doctor that we seen said I was a very lucky girl to be living, and we just can’t thank people enough,” she said. “I was leading a normal life, started a new job and was living like any other 22-year-old and then all of a sudden this happens. Life is far too short, that is the outlook you have to have when something like this happens.”
BBC News NI reported that Aoife’s doctors suspect she “may have caught a virus resulting in inflammation and excess fluid around her heart.”
She is currently recovering at home, where she is also wearing a defibrillator vest while she waits for additional tests.