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From hospital soaps on television, we know about the most severe arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation – requiring emergency resuscitation.
Few people know about the less spectacular arrhythmias: atrial fibrillation, affecting one million people (mainly the over-fifties) and greatly increasing the risk of stroke; and supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), affecting 125,000 people of all ages and causing symptoms that are unpleasant but not dangerous.
Of the 120,000 UK deaths from arrhythmia every year, 80 per cent could be prevented, says the charity Arrhythmia Alliance.
Thousands suffer a stroke or other serious health problems – or, at best, are left taking medication with serious side-effects.
One of the principal dangers, as my experience showed, is that unconsciousness comes so suddenly that you are unable to save yourself or break your fall – with potentially fatal consequences. At my local A&E the morning after my fall, I was given an electrocardiogram (ECG) – and when that showed up as normal, I was sent home with some co-codamol and instructions to get my GP to make a non-urgent referral to the cardiologist.
"Your best bet is to try to get back here when you're having a funny turn," I was told.
Amazingly, it can cure – and I mean cure – many arrhythmias without recourse to the knife or leaving a scar.
A wire, inserted in the upper leg and passed through a vein to the heart, delivers a high-frequency electric current.
Despite its efficacy, the procedure is one of the health service's best-kept secrets – perhaps because the £4,000 cost of the most basic ablation is twice what the NHS will pay for the procedure.
Even as I lay there mulling over the blood and pain, in front of a crowd of largely indifferent onlookers, I had a shrewd idea of the root of the problem – enough to be fairly sure that the station paramedic was on the wrong track when he asked if I'd been suffering from stress.
After several decades of uneventful good health, I'd started having persistent short episodes of rapid heartbeat and light-headed dizziness a few months previously.
I was diagnosed with a third type: ventricular tachycardia (VT), a fairly common cause of death in people with existing heart disease but thankfully more benign in people like myself, with an otherwise healthy heart.
Another plus for me, I eventually discovered, is that I've got the more treatable monomorphic variety; a single rogue electrical impulse in the lower chamber (ventricle) of my heart muscle caused my fall when it made my heart beat too fast to pump sufficient blood to the brain.