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    North Derbyshire Radio

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North Derbyshire man raising money for life changing surgery

todaySeptember 17, 2023 7

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A North Derbyshire man who has had a hole in his heart since birth is trying to raise awareness of the condition, after it took the health service years to diagnose it.

Connor Mapletoft from Staveley says he started feeling very unwell in 2017 and kept ending up in hospital, but told us that doctors repeatedly put his illness down to anxiety.

Local NHS bosses say Mr Mapletoft’s condition can be difficult to diagnose but once this had happened, he was referred swiftly to a specialist centre in West Yorkshire.

“I started having heart palpitations, feeling dizzy, also sick and out of breath – and they just wouldn’t take it seriously,” Mr Mapletoft explained. “They kept putting the symptoms down to anxiety and a fast heartbeat.”

“It took from 2017 up until the end of 2019 to get the proper diagnosis. I’ve been back and forth, back and forth to the Royal Hospital with a fast heartbeat, ECGs all over the place. Eventually they agreed with me to go for an ultrasound which showed them I had a form of heart disease.”

The 28-year-old’s condition is called ASD, which stands for atrial septal defect.

The condition means since birth there’s been a defect in the wall of tissue and muscle between two of the chambers of his heart. This ‘hole’ allows oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix, when they should be kept apart.

In paperwork seen by North Derbyshire Radio, Mr Mapletoft had his heart rhythm recorded in May 2017, and was referred from his GP to Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s cardiologists in November 2018. In February 2019 a cardiologist at the Royal referred him for an echocardiogram, but suspected “there was nothing wrong with his heart”. But a few weeks later, the results of the scan showed a small hole in his heart, and he was referred to a regional specialist centre in Yorkshire.

“My GP in Staveley, they’ve been amazing,” said Mr Mapletoft. “They was actually the ones telling the Royal Hospital at the time that I needed this surgery. I knew there was something wrong with myself because I kept getting the symptoms. And when somebody tells you it’s all in your head and it’s to do with anxiety, you just you’re not believed, and your whole life is in jeopardy.”

Mr Mapletoft is on PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and employment support allowance, as he says he can’t walk far without getting out of breath and becoming dizzy.

Now, he is looking to have heart surgery, but says he no longer trusts the NHS, and that the specialists he’s been referred to outside the county haven’t been in touch in a long time. So he intends to go private. His partner Amy has just set up a GoFundMe page with a target of £40,000 for the procedure. The link is below….

Fundraiser by Amy Lee : Life saving heart surgery (

The father-of-two is looking forward to getting heart surgery as soon as possible. “I reckon if they’d have done it a lot sooner, I wouldn’t be suffering as much as I am now with my heart.” 

The Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Trust told us “Adult ASD is a notoriously difficult condition to diagnose, and it can sometimes take years from first symptom to diagnosis. This is because it is the symptoms are often not very specific.

“When Connor was referred by his GP to the cardiologists, they organised an ECG – which was the appropriate test, and which shows the ASD. Our cardiologists referred him promptly to Leeds which is the regional adult congenital heart disease centre and they took over his care.

“All communications with Connor have been explained and appropriate tests and actions have been taken.”

Hear from Connor who was speaking to North Derbyshire Radio’s Senior News Editor Matt Hewitt

Written by: NDR NEWS

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