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Saturday, March 31, 2007

I was lucky, having blacked out on stage [misdiagnosed/undiagnosed heart problems]

Sir Roger Moore commented, "I was lucky: having blacked out on stage, I received excellent and rapid medical attention, and I now have a pacemaker which kicks in whenever my heart rhythm requires a correction. Thousands of sufferers aren't so lucky." Their blackouts ("syncope") may have been diagnosed as epilepsy; indeed, perhaps a third of people diagnosed with epilepsy actually are misdiagnosed. Blackouts can be an early sign of heart irregularities.

STARS (Syncope Trust And Reflex Anoxic Seizures) was founded by Trudie Lobban in 1993 after her daughter Francesca was diagnosed with Reflex Anoxic Syncope with the support of Prof. J Stephenson, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist - Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, Scotland.

STARS aims to alleviate the effects of, and provide support and information on, syncope to those in distress as a result of these blackouts, whether suffered by themselves or as a member of the family group.

STARS patrons include Sir Roger Moore, Twiggy and celebrity chef John Burton Race. Sir Roger and John Burton Race have both suffered from syncope and have pacemakers fitted.

Trudie Lobban added, "When patients are empowered with important information they can help their doctor better understand the symptoms and nature of their blackouts. This can help avoid a long list of referrals, misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment before an accurate diagnosis is secured."

Advice for patients with blackouts: Patients and parents should get and use the STARS checklist.

Read another misdiagnosis story, or read the source article in Medical News Today.

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