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Date: 20 October 2014

Time: 12:19

Expert gives Archers heart trouble

Story posted/last updated: 29 November 2012

A cardiologist from Birmingham’s leading hospital has helped to give one of Britain’s best-loved characters a suspected heart attack.

Sara Thorne, a consultant cardiologist and specialist in congenital heart disease at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), was asked to provide expert advice on a storyline for the Radio 4 drama The Archers, in which Elizabeth Pargetter suffered a heart problem.

This is the second time Dr Thorne has provided such advice for The Archers, having helped 10 years ago to re-write a  storyline which featured  the same character, who has congenital heart disease.

“They contacted me again and asked for some help, and I asked ‘how bad do you want it to be?’,” says Dr Thorne.

“What they wanted was a heart emergency and then some complex decision making in the hospital, so we used a heart rhythm problem. She is rushed into hospital, undergoes an MRI scan and eventually decides to have a pacemaker defibrillator fitted.”

Rosemary Watts, Producer for The Archers, said: "It's important to us on The Archers that we portray events and experiences in people's lives as accurately as possible, and Dr Thorne enabled us to do this.

“She certainly seems to have been the busiest consultant I have ever worked with so we often found ourselves on the telephone as she sped between one meeting or another, or between clinics.

“She was most helpful in her suggestions of how our story could work, and also came up with some wonderful anecdotes that we could use to give the story a more personal feel."

The drama began unfolding on 11 March when Elizabeth Pargetter, played by Alison Dowling, collapsed and was rushed  to hospital. The following days saw her undergo tests before undergoing a successful procedure to fit the pacemaker.

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