Dame Barbara Windsor recovering after heart operation due to complications with Alzheimer's medication

Dame Barbara Windsor (Credit: PA)
Dame Barbara Windsor (Credit: PA)

Dame Barbara Windsor is recovering after undergoing heart surgery to have a pacemaker fitted following complications with her medication for Alzheimer’s.

The 81-year-old former Carry On and EastEnders star, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014, fainted at her home, thought to be a side-effect of her medication.

Her husband Scott Mitchell told The Sun: “Barbara was suffering from a low heart rate which doctors thought was being caused by some of her medication.

“She was getting very dizzy and short of breath and fainted one day at home, so she had an eight-day hospital spell about four weeks ago and they’ve put in a pacemaker for her.

Dame Barbara Windsor and husband Scott Mitchell (Credit: Ian West/PA)
Dame Barbara Windsor and husband Scott Mitchell (Credit: Ian West/PA)

“But she’s recovering really well and is looking forward to getting out on the town again soon.”

Dr Rodney Foale, the actress’s heart specialist, added: “Barbara is doing very well.”

Ross Kemp, who played her on-screen son Grant Mitchell in EastEnders, revealed today that on visits to see her, she sometimes forgets who he is.

“She’s as vibrant as ever but her short-term memory has gone,” he told The Sun. “One minute she knows who I am then she asks, ‘Why are you here?’ The thing about dementia is that the polite filter is gone.

“It’s a bit like being a child again because you just say it how it is. Luckily, she says she still likes me, which is a relief.

“It’s horrible to deal with but she’s still the same Babs we know and love.

“I can’t praise her and her husband Scott enough for their bravery and grace in handling her diagnosis.”

It was revealed in May this year that the actress had been suffering from the degenerative disease since 2014.

Mitchell said: “Since her 80th birthday last August, a definite continual confusion has set in, so it’s becoming a lot more difficult for us to hide.

“I’m doing this because I want us to be able to go out and, if something isn’t quite right, it will be OK because people will now know that she has Alzheimer’s and will accept it for what it is.

“I hope speaking out will help other families dealing with loved ones who have this cruel disease. Secondly, I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to Barbara and she loves talking to them.”

He went on: “She often asks me, ‘Do the public know that I’m not well?’ And she asked me again this morning.

“I said they didn’t yet, but we were going to have to let them know because so many people are talking now. But if she forgets that she gave me her blessing, well, I’ll just have to deal with that.”

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