Welcome to the Hearts & Minds Website

Just to let you know what we are all about and what we do to help Cardiac Patients and their Careers

Objectives and Overview Click Here

Registered charity in England No 1144451

Affiliated to the British Heart Foundation

Meetings held at the Laindon Center Click for map

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A voluntary self-funding group of heart patients and their careers that help patients and careers face the future

Next Meeting Monday 21st November 2016

Buddy System

We are very keen to establish a “buddy” network as part of the group’s continuing desire to provide practical support to patients and families who have experienced a cardiac event. We are seeking volunteers from within the group to offer their time to speak to patients who are recently discharged from hospital or about to go in to have a procedure or a carer who has a full list of worries and concerns for the wellbeing of their partner.  This opportunity to speak with someone who has gone through what you are about to can prove to be invaluable. We believe that everybody will benefit from speaking to somebody who has “been there, done that and bought the T Shirt” (you can actually buy the T Shirt from us!). This will not be a case of having people ringing you at all times of the day. The patients will be closely matched so that their condition matches your own and they will be told a time to call that is convenient for you. Please cast your mind back to your own event and consider how useful it would have been to have the opportunity to speak with someone.

November 21st - We will have a presentation from a dietician at Basildon CTC who will help us understand the right food and drink we should be consuming - very timely with the festive season just round the corner!


Are you doing enough ? Click link below from the BHF

Lack of exercise may lead to twice as many deaths as obesity, study claims

Welcome to five new members


In the spirit of travel, exploration and adventure, please welcome


Ranulph, Philleas, Walter, Scott and Marco to the group.

As part of our aim to inspire people we want to get the message across that there are opportunities to live a fulfilled life after a cardiac event. An element of life that is important to many people is the ability to take a holiday. We already know that many of our members regularly manage to get away to various locations within the UK, Europe and further abroad. We need to let current patients know that, in most cases, travel is still an option. To enforce this we have purchased five travel teddies for members to take away on their travels. There are three criteria for taking one off the teddies away with you:

1. The teddy must come back in good condition,

2. You need to supply a picture to be put up in Rehab,

3.  Copy to david.march.sky.com for the website,

BHF have updated four of their popular booklets in the Heart Information Series about different heart conditions and treatments, including

blood pressure - peripheral arterial disease

 atrial fibrillation - heart transplant  

Click on the above links to download these booklets

Each booklet includes patient case studies and they offer a valuable source of information and support to patients and their families.

  From the Hospital  

A team at Basildon University Hospital who help diagnose and treat patients with heart and vascular conditions have won an award for their non-stop service.  

The cardiac radiographers, based in The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) have won Eastern Region Radiography Team of the Year 2016 from The Society and College of Radiographers.

 The team have been invited to a ceremony in the House of Commons in November where they will also be judged for the overall UK Team of the Year award. The radiographers are part of a team that provides the only interventional cardiology service in Essex, that is, treatments for heart disease using small incisions and hollow flexible tubes called catheters


Karen King, superintendent radiographer, said: “I think what made our entry stand out is that we are a very small team that provides a 24/7cardiac imaging service for patients not only in Basildon Hospital, but the whole of Essex. This means we have radiographers constantly on call, who are ready to get here from home very quickly if there is an out-of-hours emergency.

 “And we have just established a round-the-clock service for possible vascular emergencies, so we are meeting the challenge of a doubled workload.”  

The team also pride themselves on having designed a training programme that enables them to extend their practice outside the usual role of a radiographer. Two of them are trained as scrub nurses who can prepare patients for procedures and administer drugs.    

Karen added: “This flexibility improves team work and ensures safer patient care especially out-of-hours. It’s also a good way to ensure staff can develop their skills, which helps meet the challenge of recruitment that all hospitals are facing.”  

One radiographer from the team also has spoken about their role at an international

conference, held by the British Cardiovascular Intervention Society.  

Heart patients group raises £50,000 for hospital equipment and offers two defibrillators to the community


Patients with heart conditions at Basildon University Hospital and The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) are benefiting from specialist equipment, thanks to the fundraising efforts of a local cardiac support group.


Basildon Hearts and Minds is run by people with heart problems and offers support and information to others who have conditions such as angina and heart attack. They work closely with the hospital cardiac rehabilitation teams.

The group has also purchased two life-saving defibrillators and is inviting local clubs, schools and businesses to apply to receive one.


Donations from Hearts and Minds to Basildon Hospital recently passed the £50,000 milestone. Among the items the hospital has purchased with the funds is an exercise stress echo bike, or e-bike, used for specialist tests such as myocardial perfusion scans (mibi).

A mibi scan is used to investigate the blood supply to the heart. The test is done under stress and again at rest. While the patient is exercising they are injected with a radioactive isotope, which shows up in a scan of the heart, usually done 45 minutes later.


The patient eats a fatty snack beforehand, which helps absorb excess isotope from areas such as the digestive system. This helps to give clearer images of the heart. Images are taken to show the areas of myocardium (heart muscle) where the blood is reaching and whether there is damage to the heart muscle. If there are areas of the heart that are not glowing with isotope, it indicates a lack of blood to the area and possible blockage in the coronary artery supplying that area.

The patient returns a few days later and has another injection and scan when at rest, and the images are analysed by the consultant.


Carmen Zerafa, cardiac nurse specialist, explains: “Before we got the e-bike we used a treadmill for the stress part of the mibi test, which elderly and disabled patients were either unable to use or found difficult to use. It is also much safer for all patients to be seated during the exercise.

“We wanted this particular bike because it can also be used to diagnose patients with other cardiac conditions, such as valve disease and some congenital conditions. We make good use of it every day and it has done wonders for the service.

“We could not have developed this service without the kind support of Hearts and Minds; many thanks to all those involved.”


Michael King, aged 69, from South Ockendon, had a stroke in August 2015 and a mini stroke in October.

Michael said: “I have recovered but I am having these tests so the hospital can work out why I had the stroke. It’s a very good service that has done well by me.”


Defibrillators save lives

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest. Defibrillation is an essential life- saving step.

There are many defibrillators available in public places such as train stations, shopping centres, airport and leisure centres. They are also known as public access defibrillators (PAD) and come with clear instructions on how to use them, so that anyone can use them in an emergency.

Prompt use of a defibrillator if a person is in cardiac arrest can significantly boost their chances of survival and recovery.

One person who can vouch for this is Tony Kerrigan, who had a cardiac arrest in his local gym early this year.

Tony, a postman, was 62 at the time, and had gone to the gym after work.


He recalls: “I’d been on the treadmill, then had a sauna. As I was walking up a flight of stairs, I remember someone talking to me and then nothing after that.

“I had never had cardiac episode before I do have a family history of heart problems and I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (irregular pulse) in 2013.

“I had always been very active, playing football until I was 50, and I had been told to carry on exercising.”


Fortunately for Tony, Club Kingswood in Basildon has a defibrillator and he was resuscitated by staff who performed CPR and defibrillation after finding him collapsed.

He was taken to the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre at Basildon Hospital, and had a quadruple by-pass operation. Following surgery he completed cardiac rehabilitation and has made a good recovery. Doctors said that the fact he was very fit meant the damage to his heart was reduced.

He added: “I wasn’t really aware of defibrillators before but I owe my life to the team at the gym and the fact they had a defibrillator. I was so lucky they had installed it.”

Win a defibrillator


In no more than 150 words tell us why your community, school or business would be a good place for a defibrillator. Please include information about the number of people who attend your site, and explain where the defibrillator would be located.

Email entries to committee@basildonheart.org.uk

by 18th November 2016.

Issued by: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Communications Office