Amelia Rowland's blog

Age 17
Amelia and her friend outside the Evelina London sign with a large cheque

September 2019

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My name is Amelia, I’m 17 and I’m from Maidstone, Kent.

I have been in the care of the amazing staff at Evelina London for the past three years, having been transferred from my cardiologist in Kent to undergo life-changing treatment.

When I was 11, out of nowhere I started to experience tachycardia, heart episodes where my heart would get stuck in an extremely fast rhythm.

Within 18 months we managed to catch these episodes on a monitor discovering my heart rate was over 250bpm. I was then diagnosed with a condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).

SVT is a regular, abnormally fast heart beat caused by rapid firing of electrical impulses from a focus or accessory pathway above the ventricular chambers. SVT is often congenital (a condition you are born with) however for me and many other children, SVT can be dormant before striking prior to your teen years, while otherwise having led a very healthy childhood. Even once the SVT episodes have started, it may be difficult to diagnose SVT, making it a long and drawn out process before reaching the diagnosis.

Since being under the care of Professor Rosenthal at Evelina London, I have trialled different beta-blockers (drugs to control SVT symptoms) however with none proving successful a decision was made for me to undergo radiofrequency ablation, a procedure to destroy the cells of the extra electrical pathway. During the first procedure my surgeon was able to discover I had a specific form of SVT called Atypical Atrioventricular Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia - in other words a very stubborn form which required two rounds of surgery before I was able to experience life without SVT.

Amelia with her friend in the countryside wearing Evelina London t-shirts.After the second procedure was a success, I decided I wanted to give something back to Evelina London in support of the hospital and for that reason I decided to fundraise for them.

One of my closest friends wanted to support me and together we walked a marathon back in April, raising over £2100 for the cardiac unit. For me to have been able to give back to the hospital with the support from my family and friends really was special and it’s probably one of my biggest achievements.

What I want people to understand from reading this blog post is that no matter how challenging a time you face, the situation is only what you make of it.

Learning to find a coping mechanism is probably one of the hardest things to overcome but just remember you’re not alone. Speaking on behalf of my situation, being one of the only people I knew needing this level of medical care and not having anyone to relate to was very difficult, which is another reason why I want to share my story. Having had SVT, I know full well the impact it has on day-to-day life and the pressure it puts on you to keep a brave face, but I’m grateful for the fact its taught me to remain strong. I am proud of where I have got to and I credit everything I am as a person to these experiences. 

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The most important message to take from this is to enjoy all of the positives in your life, make the most of it and if you can give back – it’s the most rewarding thing you can do.

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