IF you have a partner who snores, then it can be frustrating – but most of the time, you think nothing of it.
So when Naomi Qureshi woke up next to husband Mason Qureshi and heard him snoring loudly, she didn't think it would turn their lives upside down.
What the 53-year-old didn't know was that her partner was actually suffering with an undiagnosed heart condition.
Now the supply teacher says she wants everyone to be taught CPR after her 'superhero' husband 'died nine times' in less than 10 hours.
The couple met 25 years ago in Birmingham and Naomi and said that he has always been in good shape – playing tennis twice a week and regularly going to the gym.
But in June 2021, Mason, 54, started to complain of a fluttering in his heart and decided to see the GP.
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This was a big shock for the couple but the GP assured them it was nothing to worry about, they ran tests and said everything was fine.
Then in February 2022, Mason had a 24-hour electrocardiogram (ECG) test, which continuously records a person's electrical activity to help find a diagnosis, which revealed he had an ectopic heartbeat.
This is an irregular heartbeat which happens when the heart contracts too soon which, according to the NHS, affects more than 2 million people in the UK.
Despite this, the couple were told Mason was healthy and they were sent on their way.
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But on the morning on March 26, while in bed with lawyer Mason, 54, Naomi went into a fit of panic after she noticed he had become unconscious.
Naomi recalled the ordeal: "Mason suddenly started making snoring noises, which I shrugged off until they persisted and I told him to stop it.
"But when I turned around, his eyes were closed and he was unconscious."
By the time paramedics arrived, Mason regained consciousness – but his heart rate spiked to 315 beats per minute (BPM).
Anything above 100bpm is considered too fast if you're resting, with a normal resting heart rate ranging from 60 to 100bpm.
We had two girls and they didn’t want to lose their daddy
Naomi said: "He then started convulsing, his eyes turned and he became so rigid. It was so horrible.
"I saw his heart was racing at 315 bpm, it was just crazy. It was the most frightening thing I have ever seen.
"I thought he was going to die. I was absolutely terrified, I didn’t want to lose him.
"We had two girls and they didn’t want to lose their daddy."
Mason was rush to Birmingham's Heartlands Hospital – but medics didn't think he would make it through the night.
Because of regulations in place due to Covid, Naomi was unable to visit Mason, so had to just go home and wait for his results.
Just five hours later she was asked to return as he was in critical care, following several cardiac arrests.
How to do CPR
A cardiac arrest isn’t the same as a heart attack, there are vital differences.
Step 1 – Shake and shout -Check for danger and anything that could put you at risk. Gently shake the person who's unconscious and try to get them talking.
Step 2 – Check breathing – Keeping their head back check for signs they are breathing.
- regular chest movements
- listening for breathing
- feeling for breath against your cheek
Step 3 – Call 999 -If someone isn't breathing, get someone nearby to dial 999 and ask if there's a public access defibrillator available. If there's no one to help, call 999 then start CPR.
Step 4 – Give 30 chest compressions – Kneel next to the person. Place the heel of one hand in the middle of their chest and the your other hand on top, and interlock your fingers. Using straight arms, press down into the breast bone firmly and smoothly, so the chest is pressed down by 5-6cms. Release and repeat at a rate of around two per second.
Step 5 – Two rescue breaths – Open the person's airway, tilt back their forehead and lift their chin. Pinch their nose. And take a normal breath, make a seal around their mouth and breathe out. You should see the person's chest rise and fall as you do it.
Step 6 – Repeat – Keep repeating 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until paramedics arrive.
Naomi said: "I thought they were preparing his body for me to identify him. It was awful and distressing, Me and my daughter were just in floods of tears.
"We raced to the ward and I was imagining all the worst-case scenarios.
"Thankfully, while he was so poorly, he was still with us."
But while Naomi was in hospital, Mason had two more cardiac arrests and had to spend nine days in hospital.
It was there that he was fitted with a pacemaker and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
This is a device similar to a pacemaker that sends a larger electrical shock to the heart to reboot it and get it pumping again.
Mason also has to take beta blockers which will help slow down his heart rate.
CAN'T EXPLAIN IT
However, doctors still can't explain why his heart suddenly stopped and the couple are hoping to have genetic testing carried out.
Everyday life has now resumed for the family and Mason is back to work and playing tennis.
But Naomi says she still worries about her husband.
"It’s very difficult to handle something when you don’t know where it stems from.
"Every little twitch that he has and anytime he snores I start panicking because I think I might lose him.
"Our little girl has become quite clingy, as the girls were there when it all started.
"We are living in fear that it might happen again."
SAVE A LIFE
Now Mason is also stressing the importance of joining The Circuit, the national defibrillator network that shows where defibrillators can be found around the country.
He said: "CPR is essentially a stop gap, it's a plaster, it's the one thing you can do while you wait for paramedics.
"But a defibrillator is what will restart the heart and potentially save lives."
He added that the family are all still trying to process what they have been through.
He said: "My daughter always says to me, 'My daddy, my superhero,' which makes me happy.
"I have the most supportive family and being with them each day is the best place for me."
Sue Hampshire, Director of Clinical and Service Development at Resuscitation Council UK, stressed the importance of CPR in saving lives.
She said: “Bystander CPR is a key part of the ‘chain of survival’ – calling 999, beginning chest compressions, and getting a defibrillator – which gives people their best chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
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“In Denmark, where CPR training in schools has been mandatory since 2005, the chances of recovery from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are triple those in the UK.
“We believe that everyone should learn the skills to save a life and, have created resources that will help teachers to deliver CPR education confidently to their students across the UK.
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