ABC Radio Brisbane presenter Kelly Higgins-Devine’s diagnosis prompts warning

ABC Radio Brisbane Evenings presenter Kelly Higgins-Devine could have ignored the warning when she felt a slight chest pain while walking.

“My heart rate would start to go up, and I’d start to feel breathless and I’d get a slight ache in my chest,” Higgins-Devine said.

She said she was lucky to have had it.

“A lot of people get no notice that something is wrong,” she said.

Higgins-Devine visited her general practitioner and was quickly scheduled for several tests.

Echocardiograms, a stress test and an angiogram revealed two of her arteries were running out of time.

“They came back and said ‘you’ve got two arteries, one that’s blocked at 90 per cent and one that’s blocked at 70 per cent, and that’s not good’,” she said.

Silent killer

Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer in Australia, affecting more than 4 million people and causing one in four deaths, according to the Heart Foundation statistics.

On average, 118 Australians die from cardiovascular disease — the umbrella term for heart conditions — per day.

The foundation said women were less likely to realise they had a problem until a later stage in their illness and were less likely to seek help quickly.

Higgins-Devine said her own family history of serious heart disease, plus the knowledge that she had complicating factors including an existing diabetes diagnosis, meant she knew to take even the slightest symptom seriously.

A smiling woman
Kelly Higgins-Devine is resting at home after undergoing a double bypass surgery.(Supplied: Kelly Higgins-Devine)

“I spoke to a couple of people who had the surgery … we just decided that as soon as you have it, you’re immediately better.”

But she said a double bypass surgery was a mammoth and “terrifying” operation.

“[Surgeons] know what they’re doing, but the idea that things can go wrong — that sits with you a bit,” she said.

Much better now

Her left forearm artery was used to replace the two damaged heart arteries in a successful operation that is already paying dividends.

Higgins-Devine said she was already feeling better and expected that all being well, she would have another 30 years with her reinvigorated heart.

She said anyone who experienced even mild symptoms should talk to their doctor.

“Heart disease is the biggest killer in Australia, but if you do something, if you actually can get those warning signals, you’ll be fine if you check it out,” she said.

“Don’t ignore it.”

Higgins-Devine is expected to return to ABC Radio Brisbane Evenings later this year.

Leave a Comment