The “terrifying” health journey of an 18-year-old Hillcrest resident has led her to pursue a career in nursing.

Georgia Fuller was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with a life-changing cardiac condition – supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).

While a typical heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute, people with SVT can experience heart rates of between 150 and 320 beats per minute, with episodes generally becoming more frequent and severe over time.

Ms Fuller said her time spent in hospital and experiences with healthcare led to her enrolling in a diploma of nursing.

“Through my own experiences as a young heart kid I understand what patients are feeling – what causes their anxieties – and I think that helps me to empathise with them on a deeper level,” she said.

“I believe it takes a great soul to be a wonderful nurse, and when you have a great soul and lived experience, you become a nurse that the patient needs and can rely on – that’s what I want to be.”

Ms Fuller suffered her first episode during a dance class in 2011.

“I went home and told my mum that my throat hurt, and I couldn’t eat dinner,” she said.

“Dad later felt my pulse and immediately took me to emergency – at that point I was frightened, and I felt really fatigued and dizzy.

“At the time of diagnosis, my heart rate was 270 beats per minute.”

She said it took hours before her heart could be reset to a normal rhythm.

After a series of cardiologist appointments and recurring episodes, in March 2013, Ms Fuller underwent a procedure known as a catheter ablation.

“A camera and ablation device were inserted through the femoral arteries in both of my legs to essentially burn off the extra pathway in my heart that was causing the irregular fast heart rate,” she said.

Ms Fuller was recently cleared by the same specialist who looked after her throughout her ten-year journey.

Ms Fuller said healthcare runs in the family, with her mother and her two older sisters currently working in the field.

“From a young age, my mum knew I’d go into some sort of caring career,” Ms Fuller said.

“I remember walking through shops and smiling at people I thought were sad or lonely – or I’d wave at older people.

“Then in grade two, I had a friend that had many medical complications.

“Being so close to her and following her story really sparked my interested in caring for people and wanting to make them feel happier, even if it was only for a second.”

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