Taking to Twitter, the 58-year-old property expert explained that the incident that landed him in a hospital in Bath was a “bit of a shocker,” before going on to reveal how it had all started. In a video to his 47,900 followers, the star explained that he had been suffering with “chest pains” and a general “lousy” feeling before being taken to hospital. It was there that the star was diagnosed with fluid around his heart that was dangerously stopping it from working.
Within the video, Roberts recalled his near-fatal experience. He said: “I ended up in hospital in Bath yesterday. I had a few chest pains and just feeling generally lousy, so I was brought in here and turns out I had a massive amount of fluid all around my heart, which was actually stopping my heart [from] working.
“Had they not got rid of it, which they did in an emergency operation last night, then it’s sort of quite serious, like, hours to live kind of c***.
“So here I am, still around, thank goodness, thank god and angels, all those things.
“There’s lots of other complicated things that have happened as a result, but we will work through those, and I’ll keep you updated.”
The Mayo Clinic explains that a build-up of too much fluid in the double-layered sac-like structure around the heart, known as the pericardium, is known as a pericardial effusion.
Although it is normal for the spaces between these layers to contain a small amount of fluid, if the pericardium is diseased or injured, the resulting inflammation can lead to an excess of fluid. This fluid can also be caused from bleeding, after chest trauma or related to cancer.
If left untreated, pericardial effusion can put pressure on the heart, not only affecting how it works, but leaving individuals at risk of heart failure or, in some extreme cases, even death.
After posting about his health scare, thousands of fans and well wishers commented on Robert’s post, one of whom was his co-star Lucy Alexander who said: “Omg… omg… sending you the BIGGEST hug ever. Love ya mate x.”
Dangerously, individuals with pericardial effusion may not notice any signs and symptoms, particularly if an increase in the fluid around the area is slow. However, for some individuals, they may experience the following:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
- Discomfort when breathing while lying down
- Chest pain, usually behind the breastbone or on the left side of the chest
- Chest fullness
- Lightheadedness or feeling faint
- Swelling in the abdomen or legs.
This inflammation and build-up of fluid could be due to a number of things, but those with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus could be at a greater risk.
Although treatment is available, if the symptoms are not noticed, pericardial effusion can lead to complications such as cardiac tamponade.
This is a medical emergency and prevents the heart from pumping well resulting in a lack of oxygen to the body. If this occurs, individuals are at a high risk of having a heart attack or dying.
Treatment for pericardial effusion largely consists of a procedure known as pericardiocentesis. This involves a doctor inserting a needle through the chest wall and into the tissue around the heart. Once inserted, the doctor then uses a catheter to drain excess fluid.
This catheter can either come right out after the procedure, or it can stay in place for several hours or overnight, to make sure all the fluid has drained, and to prevent it from building up again.
Johns Hopkins Medicine goes on to explain that pericardiocentesis is not the only method to remove fluid around the heart. However, it is preferred because it is less invasive than surgery.
In other cases, doctors may surgically drain the fluid. This may be done in people who have had chronic fluid build-up or inflammation, in people who might need part of the pericardium removed, or in people whose fluid has certain characteristics.
Even following the procedure, there is a chance that fluid around the heart will come back. If this occurs it is most likely that individuals will need a repeat pericardiocentesis.
Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs and ibuprofen will also most likely be prescribed for individuals to help with any discomfort.
After the procedure, most individuals are able to resume normal activities relatively soon, but should avoid any vigorous activity.
Following his treatment, Roberts joked that he was watching a “good TV show” from hospital, which turned out to be Homes Under the Hammer.