'Super fit' British man 'dies' six times from heart virus on Maldives honeymoon


'Super fit' British man 'dies' six times after contracting heart virus on Maldives honeymoon

A super fit man who does triathlons has miraculously survived after contracting a heart-attacking virus on his honeymoon in the Maldives and dying six times.

Andrew Britton is now waiting for a heart transplant after spending nine months in three different hospitals and suffering cardiac failure six times.

The 33-year-old, who enjoys running and playing squash, collapsed hours after arriving in the Maldives for his honeymoon.

Just five days after his dream wedding to wife Lauren on 25 November 2012 he had lost two stone and had been transferred to a larger hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, where he was put on a life support machine.

"I finally came round in the hospital in Bangkok and was so confused I thought I had been on the end of some sort of practical joke," said Andrew, from Denham in Buckinghamshire.

"They had fitted a temporary balloon inside me to help my heart pump and I was on life support.

"I pointed for pen and paper and wrote 'did I die?' I later learnt I had five cardiac failures in the Maldives and I had a sixth a few days later."

'Super fit' British man 'dies' six times after contracting heart virus on Maldives honeymoon

He had always had a passion for fitness, playing squash from a young age, and had just returned from a triathlon training camp in the Algarve.

After the wedding they boarded the plane for their honeymoon on the Kandooma Island in the Maldives, but on the flight he started to feel ill with flu-like symptoms.

"I thought I was just tired and hungover after the wedding and had perhaps eaten some bad plane food," he told Rex Features.

They went by speed boat to Kandooma Island, but he gradually got worse and was so sick he quickly became confined to his bed.

The couple called the island doctor out and Andrew was put on a drip in his hut as he couldn't keep any liquids down.

He said: "I felt so ill I couldn't get out of bed and I was really sick and sweating.

"The next day I woke up in the middle of the night and could hardly breathe. I thought it must be a bug so we got the boat back to the mainland to get checked at the hospital."

He was put on a heart rate monitor, which showed 200 beats a minute. He was sedated and given defibrillation shocks to force his heart back to a normal rhythm.

'Super fit' British man 'dies' six times after contracting heart virus on Maldives honeymoon

Andrew said: "Lauren was really scared and had to sort out everything. At one point the doctors had to resuscitate me but our medical insurance hadn't kicked in and our credit cards were maxed out.

"Lauren had been given a security escort from the hotel and he saw the situation was so serious that he gave the hospital the deeds to his house as security against my treatment."

Lauren said it was "absolutely terrifying" because Andrew went downhill so quickly.

The doctors told Andrew they had 24 hours to get him to a specialist heart hospital in Bangkok or he would die.

He was flown there on an emergency medical jet and remained on life support for two weeks and in the hospital for a total of six weeks.

Andrew's other organs started failing as the doctors worked out which drugs to put him on and they drained 11 litres of fluid from his body when his kidneys stopped working.

Eventually he was stable enough to get another medical flight home and was taken to Harefield Hospital in London.

They fitted a Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy Defibrillator device to help pace his heart and within 48 hours he felt much better.

"I was eventually able to leave the hospital and I was at home for seven weeks, but I suddenly collapsed at Tesco and was taken back to hospital," he said.

This time Andrew had eight hours of open heart surgery and was fitted with a left ventricular device, which sucks in blood and sends it through the heart.

He is now stable and in hospital, awaiting a heart transplant.

"I was told I had picked up a virus which attacked my heart and caused it to inflame, which is incredibly rare," he said.

"Despite all that has happened I count myself lucky. I have an amazing family, met people who show the world is full of people that care for strangers and learned that you should never live in fear.

"I still have one final hurdle to go in getting the transplant, but I'm ready for it and know that everyone around me is there to get me back to how I was before."

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