British Heart Foundation

Congenital heart defect

Hi I’m Charlotte new to this and well looking for any advice, suggestions and or support. So for 3 years kept having chest pains, shortness of breath and feeling of complete doom now I do have anxiety/panic problems which I’ve suffered with for 10years well I just knew something was wrong and I pushed for extra test well they found I have an abnormal course of my right coronary artery which is being squashed which is causing angina I’m

Only 32 and well I’m petrified they have said I need cabg which is open heart and now I’m

Waiting for date which could be 3 months I don’t know how to deal with this and I’m

Scared and my anxiety is in 5th gear

Many thanks

10 Replies


I have suffered same kind of symptoms for 3 yesrs. Finally they have said i have 14mm hole in heart.After 1st operation failed to cover hole, i was told open heart required to fix problem. That was july last year and still waiting as waiting list massive at QE. It is very stressful not knowing when my date will be


It’s defiantly difficult being told that the condition u have is dangerous and not knowing what’s anxiety and fear and what’s the real thing all very worrying I haven’t been given a date as yet but the waiting list around 3 months in which I will have my pre admission I also put myself on the cancellation list so in a way I’m hoping it’s sooner rather then later x


It's only natural to feel anxious, but it's great that your condition has been identified and a treatment plan is in place. I was 31 when I was diagnosed with heart failure and can relate to the horrible shock of getting bad news about your heart at such a young age. But actually there are lots of us young(ish!) folks around this forum with a whole host of heart conditions, so you are far from alone in that.

Waiting is definitely the hardest part. Have you been offered any sort of counselling? It might help to have someone to talk to. Remember the BHF has a phoneline you can call in office hours if you want to talk to someone in the know. The number is 0300 330 3311.

I always find it helps to take control of what I can control when things seem overwhelming - that might be finding out all you can about your condition, or making sure you're as healthy as you can be by the time the procedure takes place, or just sorting out the cupboards at home, whatever makes you feel like you are on top of things. That works for me, anyway, but then I am a bit of a control freak!

Keep in touch, there will always be someone around here who can relate to what you are going through. Lots of luck x


Thank u for the reply I’m trying to do exactly that and stay busy well because all this thinking time is making me a nervous wreck. I’m not really sure how I feel about it all I guess cos the associated risk of sudden cardiac death with my condition is high that’s making me very frightened. Like I said it’s hard tackling both anxiety symptoms and the angina because they mimic each other. Hopefully I’ll be seen sooner rather then later and just get it done the waiting is defiantly difficult xx


I was born with a a narrow coronary artery and had many ops due to this.


Well I guess that’s kind of what I have I was born (just didn’t know it) with a squashed artery. Are the operation as bad as what I’ve read about cos seriously I’ve done so much research thinking this would help me be better prepared but think it’s kicked my anxiety into higher gear


Hi Char,

I had a quad bypass a year or so ago. Yes the recovery is reasonably long but for most these are considered routine operations nowadays. Please leave Google alone, it terrified me, speak to your cardiologist, write down questions as you think of them, none are stupid all are relevant to you. call the BHF helpline 0300 330 3311, speak to a cardio nurse there.

The surgeons do great things, you will come out the other side of this feeling so much better.

take care



Thank u for ur reassurance it goes along way knowing others have been through the same thing all very worrying but I think the waiting is worse

1 like

Hi Charlotte,

I’m glad you got in touch. I’m sorry to hear you have been having such a tough time. Yes, a coronary artery bypass operation is a big operation to have. But it’s also a very successful operation and is done routinely in many hospitals. The aim of the operation is to help relieve your symptoms and many people are surprised how quickly they recover. Have a read of our coronary artery bypass web page and our ‘heart surgery’ booklet: Sometimes understanding more about the operation you are going to have, can help you to feel more in control of the situation and help you to feel less anxious. It can be a difficult time though, waiting for an operation and it’s natural to feel anxious. If you would like to chat things through with one of our cardiac nurses, please give us a call on the heart helpline - 0300 330 3311. Or contact the hospital to see if they have a ‘pre-admission clinic’. This is a good opportunity for you to find out more and to ask questions. If however you are feeling highly anxious, and panicky and if you experience feelings of doom it’s very important you visit your GP and have a chat about how you are feeling. I hope things go well for you. Best wishes, June


I’m in the middle of a 6 - 12 month recovery period and coping wiv it. I remember being told as an adult I will have times where I’m unwell and I freaked out but it’s a time that God uses.


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