Coronavirus: heart condition woman says Covid saved her life

By Thomas Mackintosh
BBC News, London

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image captionAngela Schlegel said having no visitors was extremely difficult during her five weeks in hospital

A woman says contracting coronavirus ended up saving her life, when Covid doctors discovered she had an undiagnosed heart condition.

Angela Schlegel was hospitalised after 11 days of coronavirus symptoms.

Her heart condition - which medics said could have proved fatal - came to light while she was in intensive care at London's Royal Brompton Hospital.

The 36-year-old said: "It just blew my mind as I was told my heart was not functioning the way it should be."

She had initially been taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, on 22 March, where scans showed fluid around her lungs and heart.

She was transferred to the Royal Brompton and diagnosed with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) - a condition that can damage various organ systems in the body including the heart, joints, lungs, and nerves.

image captionAngela said being on the ICU wards was an "overwhelming experience"

Ms Schlegel said she had been "going back and forward to the doctor with asthma" for two years but had "no idea my heart was in trouble."

"If the EGPA was left undiagnosed I could have just dropped dead.

"Coronavirus was putting my body and my heart under a lot of stress and doctors said it had accelerated my EPGA.

"It saved my life in the long term, but in the short term coronavirus did nearly kill me."

image captionAngela Schlegel's recovery was a morale boost for hospital staff, a consultant said

Ms Schlegel, who spent five weeks in hospital, described the NHS staff who treated her as "just outstanding".

One of her consultants, Dr Pujan Patel told BBC Breakfast that watching Ms Schlegel recover had a "huge impact" on staff morale.

"When you do see that patient getting up on their on two feet and smiling it makes a tremendous impact," he said.

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