A YOUNG York woman has told how she ‘technically died’ as all her blood was drained from her body during a dramatic life-saving operation.
Izzy Scott, 23, from Heslington, underwent the drastic procedure in August to remove clots from her lungs after she was diagnosed with the rare disease chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH).
Izzy, who attended Archbishop Holgate’s School, was diagnosed in December 2019.
The disease, which affects just 400 people in the UK, causes blood clots, severe water retention and led Izzy’s lips to turn blue.
She also suffered breathing problems so severe she couldn’t even put her socks on.
She was admitted to York Hospital before undergoing pulmonary endarterectomy surgery at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge – the only place in the UK that performs the operation.
The surgery involved draining her body of all blood to clear the clots in her arteries and lowering her body temperature by half – meaning she was technically dead.
After the clots had been removed, her body was refilled with blood and her temperature increased, bringing her back to life.
Izzy, who is a third-year drama student at the University of York, said: “It was a harrowing time. I was frightened and nervous as my mum dropped me off. I had time to come to terms with what would happen during the operation but because of coronavirus visiting restrictions, I was totally alone.
“I was on my own in the hospital for three days before the surgery and it was terrifying knowing that I might not wake up and, if I didn’t, the last conversation with my family would have been via Face Time.”
She added: “The original operation went well but then I suffered a bleed on a brain. My mum said the doctors rang her to tell her the news and she was convinced I would be dead by the time she arrived.”
Izzy stayed in the hospital for three weeks following her operation due to the complications, but is now recovering at home in York.
She added: “I feel so different already. I can go for walks without stopping and make it to the top of the stairs. It is amazing how much better I can breathe now.
“I now want to raise awareness of CTEPH because I had no idea of what it was before it happened to me. It’s a complicated condition to explain to people.
“I am always wondering how different things may have been if it had been detected earlier. Would it have got to the point of needing surgery?
“I went through a year of going back and forth with different GPs and even after diagnosis I still encounter medical professionals who don’t know what it is. I understand it’s rare, but it can kill people. Ultimately, with a life expectancy of three years without the operation, it has helped save my life.”
CTEPH is the only type of pulmonary hypertension that may be cured by an operation, and Izzy is now raising money for Pulmonary Hypertension Association week, from November 2-8.
To find out more visit www.phauk.org.