By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane
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Videographer / director: Bahareh Hosseini
Producer: Shannon Lane, James Thorne
Editor: Beth Angus
Jamie Poole was born with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a heart condition in which a portion of the heart becomes thickened, resulting in the organ being less able to pump blood effectively around the body, causing sometimes fatal complications.
Jamie told Barcroft TV: “It’s not a rare condition. One in 500 in the UK will have this condition.
"But for most people who do have it, it’s not an issue. Most people don’t even notice. They also go through their lives without experiencing any sort of ill effects from it.
"Unfortunately with my condition it’s more advanced, or more complicated. And it’s been causing me problems now for the last 10 years.”
Not many people have their heart stop and live to tell the tale, however this has happened to Jamie an incredible nine times.
Jamie, who lives in London but originally from Australia, said: “The first time I had a cardiac arrest was when I was 20. They took 45 minutes of CPR to get me up. I woke up a week later from a coma and was told everything that happened.
“The second time I was at my cousin’s. I felt dizzy and went into cardiac arrest. I remember waking up thinking ‘did I really go to my cousins or was it all a dream?’
“Then the third time was actually not till two and a half years later, my first in London, while I was walking to work.
"The fourth time is actually fourth and fifth, I stubbornly went straight back to work after my third cardiac arrest and exactly one week later, I woke up at the bottom of the stairwell, before going into yet another cardiac arrest.
“The sixth time I was walking to work again, and once again exactly one week after my fourth and fifth. I probably should have taken a break.
“The seventh time I during lunch, it started raining so I sort of jogged to the cafe where I got my food from. Once back at the office, I felt myself go into cardiac arrest, and woke up to colleagues lowering my head towards the ground.
“The eighth time was at an airport, back in Australia. I was over there to get my visa renewed.
“It’s actually one of the most embarrassing moments of my life because when the paramedics got there they had to take my shirt off to put in on the ECG leads, and I got shaved in front of 300 people at the terminal which was an interesting experience.
“And then the ninth time and final time, so far, was luckily at the hospital. Unfortunately they turned off my ICD as they had me on the treadmill to do a transplant assessment.
"I actually remember seeing the physiologist slam the emergency stop button on the treadmill. He yelled out 'I need some help in here’ and then I collapsed and passed out at that point. I woke up to the physiologist performing CPR on my chest.”
Jamie has now been fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or an ICD, an internal device implanted inside the body to help reset the heart during cardiac arrest.
He explained: “The procedure to put ICD in, I was asleep the whole time. So I was still, unfortunately in a coma when they put this in.
"About a year ago I had a battery replacement. So they bought me in for surgery. I was actually awake the whole time.
“Laying there on this operating table with my head to the side I could hear the doctor screwing in wrenches and laser cutting things. It sounded like he was working on car more than a body."
Jamie’s cardiologist, Dr Amanda Varnava, has even recommended Jamie stays away from exercise to avoid triggering his heart arrhythmias,
He said: “My cardiologist has recommended that I don’t exercise, so it’s a weird advice to hear from a doctor to say that you shouldn’t do exercise. It sort of goes against every sort of rule that you see around in society.”
Jamie’s heart condition means he has to take everyday precautions, such as ensuring he takes his time during his busy train commute - especially on stairs.
He said: “ Stairs seem to be my mortal enemy in a way."
The 29-year-old has unfortunately died so many times that he now recognises the moments building up to his fate.
He said: "I like to call them ‘eight seconds of dying’, which is a really depressing term. It’s sort of putting into words this feeling I get when I know I have gone into cardiac arrest and there’s nothing that my body can do to stop it.”
However, each near death experience has been different for the Creative Technologist.
He said: "I’d like to say that I have had every near death experience possible. I have had the ‘out of body’ experience. I have had the ‘white light’, the ‘golden light’ sort of experience.
"It’s interesting, I don’t believe in the after-life or any of those sort of experiences actually happening. But obviously after experiencing these first hand I can definitely understand why people believe in them."
Despite Jamie’s heart condition, he is determined not to let it affect the way he lives and enjoys his life.
He said: “It’s funny every time my mum calls she asks me - have you died this week? I am happy to answer - not this week.
"I think I’m risking a little bit more just for those moments of experience. I think there is some level of risk I like to take to make sure that I am still experiencing an interesting full life. I went snowboarding down the French Alps and that didn’t even cross my mind that might actually be dangerous for my condition.”
In the future Jamie is looking to get a heart transplant, as doctors are unsure how much longer his heart will last.
He said: “About three years ago I probably had the scariest doctor appointment I’ve ever had where Dr. Varnava told me that my heart probably wouldn't last another five years. That was one of the most depressing points of my life.
“So a transplant maybe the only option that can help me live a longer life.
"Who knows I might have my custom heart built out of stem cells one day. As long as I live that long to see those kind of improvements then I am happy.
“The advice that I would give to somebody after I’ve had my experiences is definitely just enjoy the little things in life, don’t take them for granted and cherish those moments. I think my other advice would be that memories are more valuable than things. Go and experience the world.”