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Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan praises medics after heart stopped beating during hospital procedure

Politician reveals cardiac arrest experience just days after Euro 2021 player suffered heart attack on pitch

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A Sinn Fein MLA has revealed how his heart stopped while he was undergoing a series of routine hospital tests.

Philip McGuigan, who represents North Antrim, said he suffered a cardiac arrest during a procedure at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital earlier this month.

Fortunately medical staff jumped into action to restart his heart and the politician was admitted for a week in hospital, The Irish News reported.

The father-of-four revealed that he was under anaesthetic during a routine Electrophysiological (EP) study when his heart stopped.

Mr McGuigan’s serous heart issue took place just days after Danish international soccer star Christian Eriksen shocked spectators at the country’s Euro 2020 opening match, which was televised globally, when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

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The footballer’s medical problem has thrown the subject of cardiac health back in the spotlight.

Mr McGuigan was eventually allowed to return home last Monday and has since returned to work at the Assembly.

The 47-year-old, who suffers from arrhythmia, commonly known as irregular heartbeat, has been diagnosed with early onset heart disease.

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Denmark's Christian Eriksen is carried off after collapsing during the match Pool. PA

Denmark's Christian Eriksen is carried off after collapsing during the match Pool. PA

Pool via REUTERS

Denmark's Christian Eriksen is carried off after collapsing during the match Pool. PA

He recently had a temporary pacemaker fitted and posted images of his medical emergency on social media

"I was not in any way worried about anything, I didn't know this had happened," he recalled.

"After the operation they explained what happened and they put a temporary pacemaker in my neck."

"My consultant told me it never happened to him before and the staff were obviously very concerned and why it had happened."

Mr McGuigan, who has become a grandfather in the past year, said the dramatic experience had caused him to reflect.

"You think to yourself, God, I just had a grandchild, am I going to be able to watch her or other grandchildren grow up?

"Selfishly, you think, I love cycling and running and I am very fit and competitive, you think 'am I going to be able to continue with that aspect of my life?'.

He stressed that despite the trauma of the experience he refuses to dwell on the incident.

"Since the temporary pacemaker was removed from me physically and mentally I feel normal,” he said.

Mr McGuigan revealed no one had anticipated he would ever have heart problems, given he regularly exercises six times a week and can pedal 80 miles a day at the weekends.

He is also a former MacRory Cup footballer with St Patrick's College in Maghera, Co Londonderry.

"A lot of people looking at my lifestyle would not have predicted I would be top of the list for a heart problem," he said.

In January the Sinn Fein MLA revealed he had been addicted to online gambling, a personal battle he revealed in a bid to urge Northern Ireland to modernise its gambling legislation to take into consideration online betting.

There were occasions when his mortgage was not paid and when he was unable to put fuel in the car or even buy food to eat.

Addiction is an illness, probably not one that garners the same amount of sympathy as other life-threatening illnesses but, nonetheless, addiction is a very serious illness,” he said at the time.

He paid tribute to the medics who carried for him, and the MLA urged anyone who is concerned about their health to seek medical advice.

"If people have concerns regardless of how fit, healthy or young they are they should get themselves checked out," he said.


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