Life to begin at last for cardiac patient

by Louise Doyle

A LETTERKENNY man who suffered 15 cardiac arrests in one year is hoping that life really will begin at 40 next month, when he aims to undergo life-saving heart surgery in France.

Chris Burrows is fundraising to help pay for €30,000 in costs related to hospital treatment in Bordeaux.

Speaking to the Donegal News, Chris told of how his life changed suddenly eight years ago when he suffered his first cardiac arrest.


“I was very lucky. CPR was administered immediately and an ambulance was called.

“The ambulance had been blue lighted elsewhere but arrived with me within three minutes. It took 25 minutes to bring me back, and afterwards I spent some time in a coma.

“I was allowed to leave hospital and I travelled to Barcelona on holiday. I had planned it for a year-and-a-half and wanted to go, but within two days I had my first cardiac arrest in public. It had never happened in public before. I always know when it is going to happen because I get a sense of being out of my body and feeling dizzy.

“When I came round from the cardiac arrest I found people standing over me talking in a foreign language. It was very disorientating.”

Life for Chris since has been a roller coaster, constantly in and out of hospital.

His condition has left consultants and cardiologists baffled. Subsequent investigations revealed that Chris has a congenital defect.

“For the first few years afterwards I experienced problems until my medication was right. I now have am implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) which is constantly having to keep my heart in check. I have a rare form of arrhythmia which, after repeated attempts of fixing here in Ireland, is still causing an issue,” said Chris.


The week before Christmas, Chris suffered five cardiac arrests, bringing the year total to 15 and that’s only since June. This year has started on a rocky note for Chris as he has already suffered two cardiac arrests, the latest one happened at the beginning of this month.

Chris said the incidents are taking a “huge toll” on his life.

“All of this takes a huge toll on my body and not only affects me physically and mentally but it also affects the ones I love around me as they have had to deal with it first hand whether I be in a shop or at home.”

Sadly, Chris lost his father last year to a sudden cardiac arrest at the age of just 62.

“It is always in the back of my mind that if my ICD fails and nobody is with me I will go the same way. My condition is so rare that my consultants have said they are at the end of their knowledge base. As a result , I’m now need to go to France for more aggressive and invasive treatment to try and correct the arrhythmia. This will enable me to have a better quality of life, and hopefully it will mean my medications will reduce and I will become less reliant on my ICD.


“I work from home and my employer has been excellent but it is very much a solitary existence. I have great housemates who look out for me, and my family are brilliant too.

“I’d just love to get my life back to the way it was before,” said Chris.

Chris has been given a date of March 1, his 40th birthday, and has been told costs related to hospital treatment in Bordeaux will be in the region of €30,000, which he has to pay upfront and then seek reimbursement.

Anyone who can donate is asked to do so via revolut @chrisburr or via

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