Holby City

I know, I shouldn't rant.

I was harmlessly watching something on Egyptian tomb thieves when hubby rang (he's working away from home). 'You've got to watch Holby City!' he said. 'There's someone with your disease!'

'Condition', I said through gritted teeth, and turned over in time to see the doctor saying caringly 'You're going to have to have an operation - incisions into your chest. If you don't, you could have a stroke or even die.'

Oh, jolly fun! That's both horribly vague and vaguely horrible, and about as helpful to someone who has, or thinks they have AF, as a chocolate teapot. Well, that was my first thought.

Perhaps there was more to it that I missed while I was watching the tomb robbers... Like sensible information! Chest incisions forsooth! Wondering if I should write to the Beeb and have a whinge or just leave it, on account of not having seen the whole runup to this weird pronouncement...

80 Replies

  • You didn't miss anything, that is was the so called cardiac consultant said, Very vague and not informative at all.

  • Well that was really useless then, I'm very disappointed. So much for all these boasts about having medical experts on hand. Shame on the BBC.

  • When I was in a film about AF the script was rubbish and I argued a lot with the director about factual content. On the second day of filming a lady turned up from St Georges and put everything right and vindicated me. Smug bugger. Mind you that was for a drug company a few years ago now so they needed to have it correct.

    This isn't the first time we have had such things on TV but I guess there is no such thing as bad publicity.

  • Oh well, good for you, glad the lady from St Georges set them right! I think Holby could have done with it tonight...

    Well, maybe it will raise awareness that it's a serious condition and not just 'palpitations' we should be getting over!

  • I have noticed that a lot of the episodes on Holby are badly researched. No excuse really. However I am still addicted to the series!

  • I hadn't watched it for a while but it's amazing how you just slip seamlessly back into it!

  • My wife who was in nursing says that it is always full of mistakes.

    Having twice had a pneumo thorax I was surprised at the lack of preparation before it and the ease with which it was done and the seemingly quick relief. My last one was the most painful thing I have ever experienced and needed lots of morphine to get me through it.

  • A pneumo thorax sounds awful to me, but you're right, they just breeze through it at Holby. Sounds like for some conditions it's the hospital to be in but for AF, definitely avoid!

  • Recent episode of Doctors on lunchtime BBC had a woman fainting all over the place, sent her in and was in bed with serious illness of " irregular rhythm " of her heart. No more about her in next episode. More awareness anyway, still love Doctors!!

  • Haha makes you wonder what they did with her... Sounds sinister! Doctors isn't one I've watched, perhaps I need another addiction :)

  • The trouble is when relations and friends see programmes like that contain wrong and misleading information they take the programme as fact over and above anything else we are saying or experiencing and think we are being melodramatic!!!!

  • That's a relevant point. Why not put it to the BBC - Someone might listen!

  • We are being released programmed so to speak.. it's horrible but it's the truth.. and for some this truth hurts so much they deny it continuously

  • Re programmed*

  • Very true, good point... These programmes are so influential they have a duty to try to at least get the basics right.

  • I too watched Holby, and they exagerated the 'stress' that caused this woman's AF (looked like normal life to me) and it was certainly scare mongering but at least my family/friends who watched it won't be in any doubt that what I have isn't just a whim. I was told recently by a well meaning friend that if I stop thinking about it it will go away - oh right I'll try that then!!

    Have a good day all x

  • Ha, stop thinking about it, what a good idea - and yes, I was thinking from what I saw, that's stress? I fear the programme might make some relatives over-worried, they might think we're trying to play down what we've got to make them happy - then we'll have to play it down to stop them panicking!

  • I do not watch it but my wife does. Strange that she did not comment on my serious condition later. I must ask her what it was about when she gets home from her swim or should I watch it on iPlayer?

  • It would be interesting to get her take on it! My hubby is saying not to blame him for suggesting I watch it :)

  • I think maybe save yourself the trouble

  • I also watched Holby City last night. My ears pricked up when the doctor mentioned the patient may have AF.

    They thought initially that it was stress induced then later concluded that is was something more serious causing the problem. They weren't too clear on what the real problem was nor what the chest incisions were for.

    Not a well scripted episode especially when AF is so common, but then it is just a soap after all.

  • If only we all had doctors who could diagnose the exact cause of our AF in a day on the ward, eh? I thought the chest incisions sounded downright sinister, I'm sure that was for dramatic effect but my goodness... I guess soaps would argue they're not aiming for reality, but really the medical ones ought to at least aim in the right direction!

  • When they mentioned chest incisions I assumed they must have been referring to a Maze, but that's a last resort, not the first. They mentioned Amiodarone as well, which is also a last resort.

  • Oh right, is that what happens in a Maze? Shows you how much I know! It did all sound a bit extreme, the Amiodarone does as well. I guess that's drama for you...

  • A Maze is when they disrupt the electrical pathways by making a "maze" of incisions across the outside of the heart instead of burning the inside with a catheter. I think I read that they can now do it with keyhole surgery, hence my connection with them mentioning incisions in the chest.

  • Sounds interesting! I understand why they call it a Maze now!

  • I thought Maze when I first read this thread.

    Cardiologists I see want to start with amiodarone.

  • Goodness... I was told that was a really heavy duty drug. Our doctor gets twitchy about the bisoprolol!

  • It should only be prescribed for life threatening arrhythmias. Last time I was prescribed it was after a registrar said that bisoprolol would be enough until I had a cardioversion. Then I got a very junior passing through one who said that if I did not take it I could not have the cardioversion.

    Have you Googled the history of amiodarone?

  • I was just reading, oh my... What a weird set of side effects! No wonder it's a drug of last resort! I hope never to be put on it...

  • You must have missed the many posts on amioderone that have been on this forum!!

  • Probably did Peter, or at least I didn't look into it in detail!

  • There are at least two on this forum who have found out about Amiodarone the hard way. One has terminal lung fibrosis, and the other is on an oxygen mask 24 hours a day.

  • That's terrible!

  • It was the word "Amiodarone" that galvanised me into action, and made me opt for the ablation, so I was only on it for the duration of the waiting list. I don't think the guy with fibrosis was on it very long, though.

  • I developed a tremor in my hands after a few days on it and had loss of equilibrium and could not make small turning movements and had to have one hand on the wall of the shower and wash with the other. I had to give up in the kitchen because of all the small turning movements you make there.

    It went back to normal after a couple of weeks when stopping it but now any new problem that crops up makes one wonder if it has a connection.

    I saw a friend approaching who was on it and was shocked at what appeared to be a huge greyish/blue birthmark on his face and neck that was caused by sun exposure when on it.

    He had had a pacemaker fitted and had been told (mid 90's) that he now needed to be on amiodarone for life! He stopped it and had no problems without it but the statins did for him instead.

  • Oh goodness, that's awful. And your poor friend! One of the worst things about AF is having to take drugs of any sort and wondering what the heck the side effects might be down the line. Amiodarone sounds like a nightmare.

  • As amiodarone can affect people years later their doctors fail to make a connection.

  • Insidious, isn't it?

  • As one write up said if the Devil had wanted to invent a drug to do harm that one would have been quite good for his first attempt.

    It also increases the effect of warfarin. When I was first prescribed both at the same time by the hospital that did my heart surgery I was given a low dosage of warfarin to begin with.

    The next time I was a ready taking warfarin and when the junior fly by night trainee insisted I take amiodarone as well she did not reduce my warfarin dosage. My INR went up to 3.9 the INR nurse scratched her head for two weeks. I did the research and went to see my GP with the evidence.

    He admitted that he did not know that and consulted his BNF that was vague and did not spell it out.

    I asked the local pharmacist why she had not warned me and she said that everyone knew that they should reduced my warfarin.

    The patient is the last line of defence.

  • Oh good grief. Sounds more like the patient is the guinea pig. How can doctors prescribe drugs when they're ignorant of the interactions? I mean, warfarin interacts with everything...

  • Including one PPI but not the one I take.

  • Well a better description might be the first line of attack!!!!

  • I put on the No 9 shirt in that case.

  • Well I mostly played football and hockey in goal so I wore the number 1 jersey and literally was the last line of defence😊😊

  • Someone had to be :D

  • Which was the most difficult role?

  • Indoor hockey in goal. And the most dangerous. Definitely adrenaline fuelled which with hindsight probably didn't help!!!!

  • Sounds like great fun - my other half used to play hockey, but as I recall, he was dangerous!

  • It was great fun. Never short of action in goal!!!

  • The goalie in my hubby's team used to wear one of those full face masks. I remember thinking that was a very wise move!

  • Yes and other protection as well. Today's protective equipment is much lighter and less bulky.

  • I bet that's a major improvement. Our goalie used to be pretty well spherical with all the padding...

  • I've just had an abnormal liver test 11 months after coming off Amiodarone. I asked the doctor whether it was the Amiodarone: "Oh, no, not at all".

    If he'd said yes, my next question was going to be whether the damage is still happening now or occurred at the time. Do you have any references relating to side effects occurring long after stopping the meds?

  • Did you have liver test(s) a year before that or anytime in between?

    When was the last test you had before stopping amiodarone?

    How much was your liver test out and when is your next one scheduled for?

    As I understand it Amioderone can stay in the body for 6 months or more.

    Amioderone can significantly affect the liver and the kidneys.

    I had been prescribed Amioderone by my GP after EP said he wanted me to take it 1 month before and 3 months after ablation. As I didn't have the date for the ablation I had the prescription and collected the tablets but did not start taking them straight away (because I did not want to be on it longer than absolutely necessary - just as well!!!).

    A few weeks later I had a set of blood tests (as recommended by my pharmacist). Then received numerous voicemails (mobile and landline) from the GP's receptionist telling me to stop amioderone straight away and not to take another tablet and to contact the surgery ASAP. When I was free I did that but however they did not realise that I hadn't started taking amioderone.

    My liver results were over 4 times the maximum level. Anyway I held on for 5 mins whilst they waited to speak to my GP and then they said they would ring back. When they did they said that I was no longer to take Simavastatin as that was what was poisoning me. They have not put me back on any statins and won't do so (even this all happened a year ago).

  • It looks like I have a long history of Globulin levels below the minimum, but the Phosphatase has only been high since I went on the Amiodarone. It was averaging 76 before the Ami, but it was 98 when I came off, and it's now 122. Nothing like four times the maximum though. The Amiodarone has a half-life of 55 days, so my levels should have dropped by 98.4% after 11 months off it.

  • Just Google Amiodarone and its side effects. That and later lung, eye and thyroid problems are evidently quite common. I had eye problems when taking it that may possibly have continued.

  • That's incredible. If anyone ever tries to prescribe it for me, I'll run!

  • It should be an educational one. ER and Grey's Anatomy usually were and often featured new procedures. Even Doc Marten is usually accurate.

  • Well that at least is good to know!

  • Doctor Scurr who does a column in the Daily Mail on Tuesdays is the Doc Martin advisor,

  • Oh really? Oh that's good!

  • Ya don't sound too convinced:-)

  • You may say that. I couldn't possibly comment :D :D

  • As soon as I heard the words atrial fibrillation I turned it off. was feeling too low for their uninformed melodramatics.

  • Probably a wise response!

  • The cardiac medical expert for Holby City is a cardiac surgeon. Never a cardiologist in sight!

  • No, true, weird isn't it?

  • If family and friends really want to know about AF they will look it up on the internet, not take notice from Holby City!

    I do watch it,have a friend who advises them (not very well ) on certain medical/surgical matters!

    The Management structure/discussions are very interesting!!!!

  • I'd love to be a fly on the wall during those discussions, for sure!

  • So would I and I would give them some better advice!!! However a few years ago I knew Doctor who used to advise them when it was filmed in Hertfordshire and he was ok with some of the writers but one writer he didn't get on with because they were more keen on being melodramatic. He quit.

  • Don't blame him, that must be really irritating for a proper doctor!

  • Looking on the Internet can be even worse!!!

    Around the time I had my ablation 2 people had looked it up on the Internet and said it is only a minor procedure and the recovery period is only 48 hours and then you are perfectly / fully recovered and fit and back to work!!!! I wish all of that was true!!!! One of them was a nurse. I pointed out that my EP had said no driving for a minimum of a week and that the recovery period from the sedation is categorised as 48 hours recovery!!!!

  • Honestly, some people are so blase about anything that doesn't affect them. Give them the problem and I suspect things would be very different!

  • Yep they are the ones who make a mountain out of a molehill.

    My problem is that I soldier on as best as I can, not complaining and just adapt what I do / when I do it!

  • Sounds like me :)

  • Much better to watch 24 hours in a and e or gps behind close doors it really makes holby city so unrealistic

  • Very true!

  • What did the Mummy die from???

  • Oh, haha, very very old age that one! I don't think mummies have problems with their tickers because they keep them in little jars!

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