A Dublin teenager has credited Irish dancing for helping her recover from major heart surgery. 

Sineád Burke, 19, was born with a birth defect known as congenital heart disease and underwent open heart surgery in January 2021 to install an aortic valve. 

Sineád has been dancing since she was four years old, but doctors were concerned that she would never be able to dance again after surgery due to the strain on her heart. 

"They didn't think I'd actually ever be able to continue dancing because the physical side of it could have a strain on the heart rate," Sinéad told the Sunday World. 

"I still wanted to dance - it’s my only hobby because I wasn't allowed do contact sports. I was lucky enough and fortunate enough to be able to continue dancing after my surgery."

She added that she also would have required the surgery at a much younger age if it was not for Irish dancing because it helped to keep her fitness levels up. 

"It gave me a greater lifetime without having to get the surgery done at a younger age, and it helped keep my fitness level up," Sineád told the Sunday World. 

Despite her doctors' concerns, Sineád returned to Irish dancing in September 2021, just eight months after undergoing the major surgery. She believes her return to dancing further aided her recovery from surgery. 

She is now set to take part in the Irish Dancing World Championships in Killarney next month. 

Dr. Krish Tangella of Dove Medical outlined the medical benefits of Irish dancing in a recent post, stating that Irish dancing can help improve a person's cardiovascular fitness and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

"The fast-paced footwork and energetic movements of Irish dance can help improve cardiovascular fitness, which can in turn lower the risk of heart disease and stroke," Tangella wrote in a recent post.