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Wednesday 11 December 2019

'I was a month away from a heart attack', says Mrs Brown's Brendan

Brendan O'Carroll, left, and Jenny Gibney, right, with James O'Connell, centre, one of 85 young footballers successfully referred for cardiology assessment and treatment, and Alan Byrne, FAI Medical Director & Senior Men's Team Doctor, at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown
Brendan O'Carroll, left, and Jenny Gibney, right, with James O'Connell, centre, one of 85 young footballers successfully referred for cardiology assessment and treatment, and Alan Byrne, FAI Medical Director & Senior Men's Team Doctor, at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown

Beloved Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll has revealed he was a mere month away from a heart attack at the end of last year.

Best known for his role as Agnes Brown in the hit TV show Mrs Brown's Boys, Brendan has spoken out about his health scare at the end of 2018, when he launched The Mrs Brown's Boys' Heart Care Programme with the FAI in October.

Speaking at the announcement of expansion plans of the programme yesterday, he recalled how he was found to have an artery in his leg that was 99pc clogged.

At the time, he had severe pain in his legs and struggled to walk 100 yards.

However, it wasn't picked up until FAI medical director Alan Byrne said that he noticed Brendan seeming breathless on The Late Late Show.

"I remember feeling a bit breathless," said Brendan.

"But he really noticed it on the Late Late, so it just goes to show."

After getting an appointment, doctors found a "blockage in my heart" due to the clogged vein.

Surgery

Having undergone tests and been put under general anaesthetic, the doctors told his wife Jenny that if they found an issue, they would aim to resolve it while he was under anaesthetic.

Waiting in the hospital, Jenny did not know what was going on, and only understood Brendan had gone into surgery when the appointment that was supposed to last 45 minutes turned into more than an hour-and-a-half.

"When the surgeon walked in, it was like one of those moments if you're watching an ER drama and they go - we did everything we could - it was exactly like that," she said.

"He said, 'No, we found a blockage'."

The doctor said they expected to find 10 blocked arteries, but luckily only found one.

"He would have had a heart attack if he hadn't got it fixed. It was scary," Jenny said.

Brendan added: "It wouldn't have killed me, but I would have had a weak heart from then on."

The actor said it was not until after the surgery and he had recovered that he realised how bad a shape he had been in before.

"Six months after it, I started to realise how f**ked I was," he said.

Jenny added: "You were very, very fatigued before and the difference afterwards was amazing.

"He couldn't walk 100 yards without stopping."

The star couple are convinced it was the cigarettes that led to the blockage, but when asked by the Herald if he was looking to give them up, Brendan joked he wouldn't.

"Oh, f**k no," he said.

"Yes, he is giving them up," Jenny said, laughing.

"Since he had the surgery on both legs, we've been working with the surgeon and he's trying to cut down now.

"He's a smoker - he doesn't drink, he doesn't do drugs, he smokes."

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