Emergency angioplasty: the patient's story

Brian Smith

Brian Smith, 59, a security van driver from South Walsham, near Norwich, describes his heart attack and his angioplasty at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

I was out in the security vehicle doing my rounds when I started getting chest pain. It was at the top of my chest and felt like trapped wind but it got progressively worse over a couple of hours and I started to get a pain in my arm too.

I called work to say I wasn’t feeling well and they told me to call an ambulance. Thankfully it arrived quite quickly.

They did an electrocardiogram (ECG) and the paramedic gave me some drugs. It was hell for leather from there really, we came right up to the hospital and I was straight in. I was feeling awful. I was in quite a lot of pain in my chest and arm and although I was conscious, I wasn’t that alert.

The hospital team was absolutely marvellous. Everyone was so kind. I didn’t really know what was going on but they were talking to me and reassuring me all the way through.

I just can’t put into words how quickly I felt better as they did the procedure

I just can’t put into words how quickly I felt better as they did the procedure. It was amazing. More or less as soon as they opened up the artery, the pain faded away and everything seemed to get back to normal. By the time I was out of the room, there was no pain or anything. It’s incredible what they can do.

They put me in a room on the coronary unit and my wife Lee, 59, came in to see me. I think it was all a big shock to her. They gave me a heart care manual before I went home and I have to come back for an appointment about cardiac rehab. There are going to be a lot of changes in my lifestyle now, to my diet in particular.

I never thought I was going to have a heart attack. My father had a heart bypass and my mother and sister both have heart problems, but I hadn’t been diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol and I gave up smoking about five years ago. It came as a complete surprise. Even when it was happening, it took a while to sink in.

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