Patient Voices #BreathlessNotVoiceless

Steve Stickler

“It was a long and frustrating journey to diagnosis”

In November 2009, surgeons carried out a pulmonary endarterectomy (PTE) to remove blood clots on 70-year-old Steve Stickler’s lungs. It was the culmination of a long and frustrating journey to be diagnosed with thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

“In 2006 I was a pretty fit guy, going to the gym on a regular basis, but I was finding I was getting a bit out of breath. I went to my GP who checked my stats and told me I was fine. She said it could be the pressures of my job, or anxiety causing my problems.”

After a series of tests, it was then that Steve was finally given his diagnosis and prescribed oral medication while being kept under review. Eventually, he was put forward as a candidate for a PTE operation to clear blood clots from his lungs.

“I remember being told that even though I couldn’t be cured, the team were confidence they could get from a WHO functional class three to one, giving me a far better quality of life. Without it, I would have two or three years left of life that was probably going to be lived in a wheelchair. So, when I was offered the procedure, I made the decision to accept it that same day.”