Heart condition led to party girl’s death at nightclub

PUBLISHED: 11:55 29 March 2007 | UPDATED: 15:03 12 May 2010

Nicola Emmerson

Nicola Emmerson

A YOUNG woman who collapsed at a nightclub on her 20th birthday died from an abnormal rhythm of the heart. Nicola Emmerson of Lingfield Road, Royston, was celebrating her birthday with friends at Destiny nightclub in Watford in January. As she took hold o

A YOUNG woman who collapsed at a nightclub on her 20th birthday died from an abnormal rhythm of the heart.

Nicola Emmerson of Lingfield Road, Royston, was celebrating her birthday with friends at Destiny nightclub in Watford in January.

As she took hold of a ladder which led to a podium she collapsed and stopped breathing.

Two members of staff at the club and a police officer tried to resuscitate her before emergency services arrived, but they could not find a pulse.

After being taken to Watford General Hospital she was pronounced dead.

As a baby Nicola was diagnosed with a mild heart problem called Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome.

Coroner Graham Danbury said: "It's an abnormal process of messages being sent to the heart.

Messages that cause the heart to beat can be confused and come out of sequence."

Dr Margaret Burk of Harefield Hospital said there was no evidence to suggest there was disease of the heart, nor was the heart blocked.

And when a post mortem was carried out by pathologist Dr Rowena Smith of Watford General Hospital, she said there were 'no significant' findings.

Mr Danbury said the amount of alcohol in Nicola's blood was 'well below for someone improper to drive.'

He recorded a verdict of natural causes, the cause being an idiopathic cardiac arrhythmia - an abnormal rhythm of the heart.

He said: "This condition is triggered by unknown causes and once arrhythmia is triggered, death is caused rapidly.

"An illness which she suffered ran its course and produced a natural result. It could have happened at any time.

"As to what triggered it, no one can say.

"The likelihood is she would have died immediately. She didn't know what was happening.

"As far as she was concerned she was out with her friends and enjoying the occasion."

Nicola's father Steven said after the inquest: "The inquest was a formality to confirm what we were told. There were no surprises.

"Our main concern at the time was that someone might have spiked her drink, but our concerns have now been put to rest.

"However, it's still very difficult for us, because she was so special and we loved her very much."

Nicola's mother Julie said: "We would like to thank everyone who came to the funeral, including Nicola's friends.

"We were grateful she was with her friends when it happened, and we're relieved she didn't suffer."


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