Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

“I had two choices: have a heart bypass surgery asap or prepare for a heart attack.”

“I’m very lucky to be alive. In April 2016, I had chest pains and breathlessness twice during my regular 8km runs. Both times, I ignored the symptoms and just continued running. Eventually, I went to the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) for a check-up. 

I was shocked when the doctor told me that two of my major cardiac arteries were blocked, one was 60% blocked and the other, 90%. He gave me a choice - have a heart bypass surgery as soon as possible or prepare for a heart attack. Fourteen hours later, I was in the operating theatre having double coronary bypass surgery. Thankfully, I recovered well from the operation and I returned to work five weeks later. 

I am proof that heart problems can affect anyone, regardless of their fitness level or body shape. Before my operation, I was running three times a week and I do not have a family history of heart disease. Yet, I almost had a heart attack. 

We’re very fortunate to be living in a time in human history when there are so many medical developments and breakthroughs. Even as life expectancy increases, heart conditions continue to be a leading cause of deaths, not just in Singapore, but worldwide. More research is still needed to find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cardiac problems. This is why, after my personal experience, I decided to make a donation to the NHCS Heart To Heart Fund, which supports the advancement of heart research so that hopefully, more lives can be saved. 

The Fund also supports patients in financial need. I grew up in a very poor family. I remember, as a child, going with my mother to an office in Joo Chiat Road to collect a welfare cheque every three months. I know how helpless one can feel in a difficult financial situation. I hope that my contribution will also help relieve some of this financial stress so that patients can focus on their recovery and on living well with chronic heart conditions.” 

- Professor Kishore Mahbubani