Lincolnshire man: ‘My cracked tooth could have killed me’

Tony with Magna Vitae lifestyle consultant Laura White at Meridian Leisure Centre in Louth
Tony with Magna Vitae lifestyle consultant Laura White at Meridian Leisure Centre in Louth

Failing to have a simple cracked tooth repaired led to heart problems that could have killed Lincolnshire man Tony Horrell.

And now, as he gets back to full health, 70-year-old Tony is urging everyone to have proper dental checks - as he knows the dangers of not doing so.

Back in February 2017 Tony was a fit and healthy man and enjoyed water sports and the outdoor life. While he did not have any obvious signs of anything seriously wrong, he describes how ‘he just didn’t feel right’ and as a result visited the doctor.

Tony said: “And that was when I was diagnosed as suffering from Endocarditis and what I did not know is that up to 70 per cent of cases are caused by infection through a person’s teeth.

“I regularly went to the dentist and did have two broken teeth, which I never thought anything of, but that is certainly not the case now.”

The blood infection had damaged the aortic valve in Tony’s heart so badly that he needed a complete replacement, and March 2018 saw him admitted to the Royal Papworth Hospital for heart surgery.

He said: “When I was allowed to leave, I was so weak I could not walk at all and relied so much on my wife Shelley.”

It was at that point that he was referred to the Lincolnshire Community Health Service NHS Trust’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme, which is based at Louth’s Meridian Leisure Centre every Thursday afternoon.

He said: “There were so many things I could not do. When you come out of hospital after this treatment you are affected both mentally and physically and from being a very confident person, I felt I could not do the simplest of things.

“The Cardiac team and the staff here at Meridian have been fantastic, they do a priceless job and with their support I have regained confidence.”

With a programme designed to support Tony’s rehabilitation he now swims and is getting back to fitness with the help of staff at the centre, which is run by the Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure & Culture.

He said: “I have found that my monitored gym sessions not only make me physically feel better but also make me feel better mentally. It is not all about lifting weights but lifting the spirit as well.

“I must give a big thank you to all the team at Meridian for playing a major and continuing role in my recovery.”

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme is an eight-week exercise and education programme to support cardiac rehabilitation.

It is free to attend, and referrals are accepted from both members of the public and health professionals, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

The participants are supported by a team that includes nurses and exercise specialists and works alongside Magna Vitae, volunteers, pharmacists from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, as well as colleagues from Step2Change and East Lindsey Heart Support Group.

For more information on the Cardiac Rehabilitation Team go to

For further details about the Magna Vitae Trust, visit