Heart attack victim’s lasting legacy

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By ALEXANDER LAWRIE

A YOUNG Scot who died from an undiagnosed heart complaint has left a lasting legacy – after a trust fund was set up in her memory which will help train the country’s future heart specialists.

Edinburgh woman Tracey Culbertson was just 36 when she tragically passed away in her sleep last September.

She suffered a massive heart attack after living for years with the undiagnosed condition called coronary atherosclerosis.

A subsequent post-mortem revealed Tracey had suffered several small heart attacks over the years, and her heart had so deteriorated she would have needed a heart transplant.

Now her family, who knew nothing about Tracey’s condition, has started a campaign to raise awareness and money in the hope of preventing similar tragedies.

John and Gina Brigain, along with their other daughter Paula McPhail, have so far raised over £8000 which will go into an endowment fund to train new doctors in the early detection of heart conditions.

Fund will help future specialists

Neal Uren, consultant cardiologist at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary, said: “It struck me that to focus the use of the money in the early detection of coronary atherosclerosis, it would be appropriate to actually set up a new endowment fund specifically for funding the training of doctors who wish to specialize in CT coronary angiography, which we will be driving forward in Edinburgh over the forthcoming years.

“That way I do feel that the intention behind the donation of the money meets the remit of the fund directly, and will also allow her name to live on as the impetus to this training.”

Tracey, who worked as a personal assistant at Deloitte, was said to be a relatively sporty person who loved to go to the gym, cycle and enjoyed hill-walking.

Following her sudden death, Tracey’s family discovered that over 600 young people die each year in the UK from cardiac abnormalities.

They have vowed to continue to raise cash to go into the endowment fund devoted to the ERI.

Paula McPhail, 35, hopes the fund will continue to keep her sister’s memory alive.

She said: “I’m really happy that they’ve set up this fund, which will purely be used for training purposes, to honour Tracey’s name because it means her name stays alive.

“It means that whatever they do in the future, people will know about Tracey.

“It’s a nice end to what’s happened and hopefully it will help lots of people.”

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