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Dartford heart attack patient

Press release - 30 June 2010

The quick actions of South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) staff led to a man receiving a life-saving operation within three hours of calling for help.

SECAmb clinicians from Sevenoaks, Daryl Roots and Tina Matthews, were called to Wilmington, at about 1pm, on Monday, 31 May, after Keith Scott (55) was complaining of chest pains.

Daryl and Tina realised very quickly that Mr Scott was suffering from a heart attack. After confirming this, using the ambulance’s onboard ECG machine, they were able to directly take the patient to the cardiac unit at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

Daryl said: “We quickly identified an abnormal ECG and immediately called the unit, transmitted the ECG over to the hospital and received confirmation that we should bring Mr Scott straight into the cardiac unit.

“We then administered a drug which is similar to Aspirin called Clopidogrel. It starts to break down a clot and prepares the patient for angioplasty.

“We then explained to Mr Scott and his wife that there was a chance that he could be operated on by 3pm and in fact it was 10 minutes earlier.”

Mr Scott was an ideal candidate to receive primary angioplasty. Angioplasty is a procedure to unblock an artery carrying blood to the heart. Under local anaesthetic, a small balloon is inserted via an artery in the groin or arm and guided to the blockage.

Once in place, the balloon is inflated and removed, leaving behind a rigid ‘stent’ which allows blood to flow through.

Patients from all over Kent are now being taken straight to the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, where a support team of cardiologists, nurses, radiographers and cardiac physiologists are waiting and ready to operate.

Mr Scott, who works for BT, had been suffering classic symptoms on Saturday, 29 May, after playing a game of squash.

He said: “It wasn’t really painful it just felt like indigestion. Then on Sunday I did a few jobs around the house and felt fine but on Monday the pain returned and I was also getting pains down by shoulder and arm.”

Having done first aid training and recognising the signs of a heart attack, he called for an ambulance.

He said: “Once the call was made, they were here really quickly. I have to say it came as quite a shock when they said that I was going to Ashford and could be operated on by 3pm. It was all over very quickly. I can’t thank the ambulance and hospital staff enough.”

Mr Scott remained in hospital for three days and is now recovering well at home.

Before this new service was introduced, patients who suffered a heart attack were given thrombolysis, a clot busting drug.  However, new evidence has shown primary angioplasty for some types of heart attacks saves more lives and has a better long-term prognosis.

David Davis, who is leading the Trust’s roll-out of this new protocol across the region, said: “This life-saving procedure is the gold standard treatment for certain heart attack patients and to see the impact it is having on patients in our region is great. It not only reduces the time patients spend in hospital, it can save more lives.”

It is estimated that in a 12 month period, about 600 to 1,000 people in Kent will access the service.

ACT - Know the symptoms of a heart attack

If you suspect that you, or someone you know, is having a heart attack dial 999 immediately. Do not wait.  It is important to ACT –

Have an Awareness of the 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 and a frightening sense that one is about to die.

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.

Call 999 and get Treatment quickly.

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