Richard's life-saver

A HEART attack victim who was one of the first patients to undergo a new life-saving emergency procedure at Lister Hospital tells The Comet his story. Father-of-two Richard Oliver, from St Ippolyts, suffered a heart attack at about 6am on April 4. The 56-

A HEART attack victim who was one of the first patients to undergo a new life-saving emergency procedure at Lister Hospital tells The Comet his story.

Father-of-two Richard Oliver, from St Ippolyts, suffered a heart attack at about 6am on April 4.

The 56-year-old chartered surveyor said: "I woke up with all the symptoms.

"My arm was aching and it felt as though an elephant was sitting on my chest. I felt really sick and clammy. I thought 'I know what this is', even though I didn't like to admit it to myself."


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Mr Oliver's wife, Marian, gave him some aspirin and dialled 999. Paramedics took him to Lister where he was immediately admitted to the heart attack centre's operating room.

He was given a local anaesthetic before the primary angioplasty procedure, which opens up the blocked artery using a stent (a miniature tube of wire mesh) which is expanded with a miniature balloon.

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"I could see what they were doing on the screen, although of course I couldn't feel anything," he said.

"When they got to the block they pulled a trigger and the stent opened up the artery. I felt better in an instant, like everything was flowing normally again."

He added: "It was baffling because one second I felt terrible and then the next I felt totally better. It was like an instant cure."

Dr Diana Gorog, the consultant cardiologist who carried out the procedure, said: "Mr Oliver was very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time, so that we were able to restore blood flow to his heart quickly and effectively.

"Primary angioplasty is considered the 'gold standard' treatment for heart attacks, and as a team we are very pleased that we can formally offer this service to our patients."

The heart attack centre was officially opened on April 6, although Lister had begun offering primary angioplasty on an ad hoc basis before this.

The centre currently runs from 8.30am to 5pm, but it is hoped the service will be provided 24/7 in the future.

Outside these hours patients can receive the treatment at either Papworth or Harefield hospitals.

Prior to the service being introduced, treatment for heart attacks was clot-busting drugs, but this does not work every time and can increase the risk of stroke.

Following his operation, Mr Oliver was kept in hospital for a few days for further tests and observation.

He said: "It just goes to show it can happen to anyone. I don't smoke, I'm not overweight and I don't have particularly high cholesterol.

"I am extremely grateful that we have this new service in our area and I was able to carry on my life where I left off."

HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS

- Crushing central chest pain, or mild chest discomfort

- Shortness of breath

- Clammy, sweaty and grey complexion

- Dizziness

- Nausea and vomiting

- Restlessness

- Coughing

- A general feeling of being unwell

- The pain that you experience when having a heart attack often starts in your chest and then travels to your neck, jaw, ears, arms and wrists. Sometimes, it travels between the shoulder blades, back, or to the abdomen.

- The pain can last from five minutes to several hours. Moving around, changing your position, or resting will not stop or ease the pain.

- The pain may be constant, or it may come and go, and feel like pressure, squeezing, or fullness.

If you suspect that someone is having a heart attack, or you are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, make sure you seek medical attention immediately. The sooner the treatment is received, the more effective it will be and the greater the chance of survival.

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