VIDEO: Champion cyclist could have lived, says coroner

A champion cyclist who collapsed and died while out riding his bike could have been saved if doctors had diagnosed an undetected heart condition, a coroner has ruled.

Fitness instructor Peter Hinchliffe, aged 33, collapsed and died from an undiagnosed heart defect while cycling close to Doncaster Racecourse.

Pete Hinchliffe

Pete Hinchliffe

Family members told an inquest that specialists at a private hospital in Sheffield missed opportunities to diagnose the condition and give Peter potentially life-saving treatment during tests conducted in the months prior to his death.

Recording a narrative conclusion, coroner Fred Curtis agreed there had been ‘delays’ in Mr Hinchliffe’s treatment and added his death could have been ‘avoided’.

He told Doncaster Coroners’ Court: “Mr Hinchliffe died from a natural condition that had not been diagnosed or treated.

“Had the investigative process been completed more expediently, and a defibrillator implanted, it is probable he could have anticipated a reasonable expectation of life.”

Mr Hinchliffe’s father, Dr Robert Hinchliffe, told The Star after the hearing: “We welcome the coroner’s comments.

“This shows that Peter could still be here today.

“This has been a long process and we hope this can bring us closure.”

The inquest heard Mr Hinchliffe, of Springwell Lane, Balby, Doncaster, complained of palpitations during a bicycle race in 2006 but tests revealed he had no major abnormalities.

He collapsed again in May 2010 while on a training ride and underwent tests for Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy or ARVC - a rare heart condition which can cause sudden cardiac arrest.

Dr Hinchliffe claimed the tests revealed abnormalities in his son’s heart.

But he said Dr John West, a specialist at the Thornbury Hospital on Fulwood Road in Sheffield, failed to diagnose the condition.

He said his son could have been fitted with a defibrillator, which shocks the heart into a regular rhythm, and he may have been saved.

The court heard Mr Hinchliffe was also not sent for an MRI scan, which could have revealed the condition.

In addition, a meeting between specialists to discuss his treatment had been cancelled and re-arranged for October 2010.

But Mr Hinchliffe collapsed while riding in Leger Way on September 11, 2010.

He was pronounced dead later in hospital.

A post mortem examination ruled he died from ARVC.

Dr West said an ECG test showed a single minor abnormality, but there needed to be at least four before an ARVC diagnosis could be made.

He continued that a defibrillator could not be fitted before a diagnosis was made and that Mr Hinchliffe died before further full investigations could take place.

A spokesperson for the Thornbury Hospital said: “We were so sadden to hear of Mr Hinchliffe’s death.

“Whilst we are never able to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality, we wish to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mr Hinchliffe’s family and friends.”