Case Histories

The following Case Histories are available:

Sakkie Krynauw
Hermann Steyn

Cardiovascular Event.

IJJ Krynauw

It was late September 2008 on a mid-week birding trip that I notice that I was tired after a short walk. A little rest and I was fine again. I got used to this condition and waited for the new year, 2009 to get an appointment with my GP.

The stressed ECG showed that the left ventricle of my heart did not get enough blood and he sent me to a specialist at MediclinicVergelegenfor a re-test and his opinion.

The results were confirmed and I had to go back the next day for an Angiogram. The results showed a serious build-up on the main artery to the hart. Afraid that the build-up could come loose, he kept me in hospital lying flat. A balloon was put into the Aorta to help the heart. He then booked the theatre for a by-pass operation.

Early that Friday morning in January 2009 I went into theatre.The operation was done by Dr's Spanner Van Zyl and Tom Mabin and the anaesthetist was Dr AndrŤ Phillips. I was in theatre for 6 hours. A "four bypass" was done. The Saturday night I received 2 units of blood and had fluid on the one lung, so a drainage pipe was put in. Earlier the day the balloon machine was removed.

I was kept under for almost 2 days, because coming by was a bit of a struggle. Due to a high temperature a blood sample was takenthe Sunday to see whether a virus was attacking the body.

By Monday, although not so sure about things around me, I was awake. Some of the drainage pipes were removed.I was very thirsty and got a small block of ice every now and then. I was in ICU for 5 days and 5 days in the general ward.

The physiotherapist was quickly onto me and helped me to walk short distances and do breath resistance exercises to help the lungs to recover. The wounds recovered quickly and soon I was without any plasters. Every morning blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature measurements were taken.

I had six weeks sick leave. After 4 weeks I went for a follow-up visit to Dr Van Zyl and Dr Mabin and they were very happy. Blood tests showed low blood counts and Dr Mabin made an appointment for a column- and gastroscopy tests to look for any internal bleeding. There was no internal bleeding and I went on a course of iron pills.

It is 5 years later and I feel good. I can walk long distances.


Journey to a Gift of Life | by Hermann Steyn

The Waiting List

Over 4 300 people in South Africa are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and that number increases every day. Despite the shortage of organs, those on the Waiting List live in a constant state of hope that their name will be the next called on the list.

Hermann Steyn is a married father. He lives in Somerset West and had end-stage cardiomyopathy and severe cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart), a life threatening heart condition. He had been on the Waiting List for a new heart since March 2011. His life was a constant waiting game, hoping for the call that will give him a new life, while at the same time trying to maintain a normal family life. The call that a donor heart was available came on 4th December 2012 and he received the heart on 5th December 2012.

This essay tells the story of Hermannís life since his heart attack in 2006 until the heart transplant in 2012.

Hermannís Story

At about noon on a beautiful winterís day on 10 June 2006, I felt a tightness in my chest, was feeling weak and was perspiring heavily while attending a sporting event. I dismissed it as indigestion or ďsomething elseĒ and went to lie down in my car for about an hour. I then felt better but a surgeon friend of mine advised me to have my ECG done as a precaution.

On my way home I stopped at the Montana Clinic in Pretoria, where after an examination I was told that I had a heart attack a few hours earlier. I then suffered another heart attack in the hospital which was complicated by seven episodes of cardiac arrest. I only woke up two days later.

A few months later, after a period of hospitalization for congestive heart failure, I underwent triple bypass surgery from Dr. de Wet Lubbe at the Panorama Medi-Clinic in Cape Town. After developing atrial fibrillation two months after the bypass, I was quite ill until Dr Tom Mabin of Somerset West inserted a bi-ventricular pacemaker in March 2008 and for the first time in two years I almost felt as normal as before my heart attack, but not quite . I was ready to get on with my recovery and plunged into a rehabilitation program.

With my new lease on life, I set out to raise awareness of heart disease and its risks. I started to learn ways to change my lifestyle and decrease my likelihood of another heart attack. The professionals at the Heart Foundation introduced me to these objectives, which included a focus on exercise, a proper diet, and ways to cope with stress.

For three years I have been involved in patient visitation at Vergelegen Medi-Clinics where I am still the chairperson for the Helderberg Cardiac Support Group. I also am a member of this Support Group which was established by the Heart Foundation and since waiting for a heart, I have also become involved with the Heart to Heart Support Group for heart transplant recipients.

Iím trying to give back to the community for the years of good life that Iíve enjoyed with my family since my heart attack, I want to help with the good work that the Heart and Stroke Foundation is doing to raise awareness and save lives. I found out the hard way and if I can help others become aware of heart disease, then I may help someone else have extra years with their family. Survivors are lucky to be alive and with the instruction on a new lifestyle and taking care of yourselves and with the help of the very professional staff at the Heart Foundation, you can reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack.