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Former Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba, Hits Radio presenter Gemma Atkinson and Lizzie Jones MBE, attended the launch this week of Venturi Cardiology, the North West’s first independent healthy heart clinic.

All three underwent heart checks with consultant preventative cardiologist Dr Scott Murray, one of the founders of Venturi Cardiology in Warrington.

Former Bolton Wanderers footballer, Fabrice Muamba, Dr Scott Murray and Gemma Atkinson

During their visit, Fabrice, Gemma and Lizzie called for greater awareness of heart health and how everyone should know how to do CPR and have easy access to a defibrillator.

Nine years ago, former Bolton midfielder Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham. It took medics 76 minutes to restore a regular heartbeat after he collapsed on the pitch in 2012.

Fabrice has reached out to Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen after he also collapsed on the pitch during Denmark’s opening Euro2020 match against Finland and had to be given emergency CPR. He has told Eriksen he would be happy to talk to him about their shared health experience when the time is right.

Venturi Cardiology, the North West’s first independent dedicated healthy heart clinic, is on a mission to make world-class heart care accessible, affordable and more personalised.

As well as providing routine diagnostic cardiology services, Venturi’s primary objective is to treat the cause of heart disease, currently the UK’s biggest killer. Every 25 minutes someone in the North West dies from heart or circulatory disease, with healthcare costs relating to these diseases estimated at £9 billion each year.

Dr Scott Murray, who was inspired to become a cardiologist after his grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack, said:

“Every year, over 100,000 people in the UK die of sudden cardiac arrest, and yet so much of our heart health is driven by what we eat, how we move and through lifestyle choices – factors that are all within our control.

I see people every day who, if they had received a heart scan five years before, could have been treated or potentially may have been given that push to really change their lifestyle and turn their life around.

“Our goal is to speed up treatment for patients, save lives and help to offload some of the pressures on the NHS.

Fabrice Muamba said:

It is important to have medical checks when you need them and Venturi Cardiology’s clinic gives people the chance to come in and get all the checks they need in one go.”

Lizzie Jones, tragically lost her husband, Danny Jones in 2015. He died on the pitch whilst playing for the Keighley Cougars. Danny also played rugby for Wales. Had there been defibrillators on the side of the pitch when he collapsed his life would have been saved. Lizzie, who is also soprano singer and mother of three, runs the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund which campaigns for defibrillators to be in all sport clubs.

Lizzie Jones MBE

Former Hollyoaks actress and Hits Radio presenter Gemma Atkinson, 36, was only 17 when her father, David, died of a heart attack at the age of 52.

Gemma Atkinson and Cardiologist, Dr Thomas Heseltine

Gemma, who is engaged to Strictly Come Dancing professional Gorka Marquez with whom she has a daughter, Mia, would like to see routine heart tests made as standard as mammograms are. Gemma said:

When he was only 52, my dad, David, had two heart attacks. The first happened when he was at work – his colleagues found him hunched over his desk unable to move or breathe – and he was taken to hospital.

The second one came three days later and was bigger, in his sleep, while he was still in hospital and that killed him.

Doctors said that they thought the cause was stress related. At the time, he was very fit and healthy, didn’t smoke and only drank occasionally.

He managed a company and was working a lot and travelling all over the world. He’d had a few chest pains leading up to the first heart attack which he thought was simply indigestion and so he took some heartburn tables and carried on.

Looking back now, and thanks to what I know now following my work with the British Heart Foundation, these were classic symptoms and warning signs that something was wrong with his heart. If he had gone to the doctors perhaps he could have been investigated and they could have helped him in time.

But we all know that some men don’t like going to the doctors.

It was a huge shock for my older sister Nina and I to lose our dad when he was so young. He was fit and healthy and strong and he was the last person you would expect to collapse with a heart problem.

There’s no history of heart problems in our family as far as I know.

Since I lost my dad, I’ve taken care to make my lifestyle as good as possible. I try to live as healthily as I can with my food choices and the exercise I do as I’m fully aware that if my dad could have a heart attack then anyone could.

Gorks knows what to do to look after himself and I’m very careful about what Mia eats and drinks because I want her to make healthy choices for herself. She’s only ever had water for instance and not juice or fizzy drinks. Her favourite food is avocado and beetroot. I’m very aware that she sees what I do and will naturally emulate me.

What Venturi is offering people is hugely important. Women go for mammograms and regular smear tests but there’s no focus on the heart, which fundamentally keeps us all alive. There are lots of health tests for so many different things in the body which without the heart functioning well would fail.

It’s massively important we start with heart health. It gives you peace of mind.

I would love to see routine heart checks becoming a standard health check like other regular health tests.

I’ve never had a full heart check so I feel excited and privileged to have the Venturi heart health checks. It’s good to be able to see what is going on inside the body. I want to be able to show people how beneficial the tests are and how quick and painless they are. I might get shocked with the results but hopefully it will give me huge peace of mind.

People assume that if you look fit and well on the outside then everything is functioning ok on the inside. But that isn’t always the case.

If you would like to book a consultation with Venturi Cardiology, we are currently offering a 10% discount.