Cherryn’s Story

Cherryn Edwards knows the importance of quick access to emergency cardiac care.

In November 2019, Cherryn Edwards awoke feeling shortness of breath. Over the next few hours she felt progressively worse, eventually finding it difficult to breathe at all. Calling 000, she was taken to Monash Medical Centre in an ambulance.

An urgent echocardiogram showed a significant mass in her heart’s left chamber.

“I remember the room suddenly filled with people. Doctors and nurses. And I remember thinking ‘OK, this is serious,’” Cherryn said.

She had a myxoma, a rare tumour that grows inside the heart chamber, dangling like a pendulum from the wall of her heart’s left atrium.

The mass was around the size of a mandarin, significantly larger than most myxomas which are usually only a few millimetres across. It was intermittently swinging and blocking the mitral valve in her heart, dangerously affecting her heart’s ability to pump blood. It was a life-threatening size that could have caused disruption to blood flowing through Cherryn’s heart.

“I remember a nurse in the room was explaining things to me, which was so important because I was being rushed in for surgery and needed that reassurance.”

Within minutes Cherryn was on an operating theatre table, undergoing emergency open-heart surgery to remove the myxoma and save her life.

“I am so appreciative of the team at Monash who saved my life,” Cherryn said. “In an emergency like mine, it’s so important to have quick access to the experts.”

Cherryn has recovered well from her ordeal, and is a great example of how a rapid turnaround from diagnosis to treatment can save lives. The teams that worked together to save her life will be the same teams providing care for thousands of Victorians every year at the Victorian Heart Hospital.

Cherryn profile picture