Healthy Living: ‘Brilliant test saved my life and hopefully will give people a stronger chance of survival’

Dr Julian Gunn, consultant cardiologist at Northern General Hospital, is pictured with patient Michael Bell, of Woodlands, Doncaster, and senior staff nurse Julie Whittaker.
Dr Julian Gunn, consultant cardiologist at Northern General Hospital, is pictured with patient Michael Bell, of Woodlands, Doncaster, and senior staff nurse Julie Whittaker.
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SHEFFIELD’S new heart disease test has been hailed as a ‘brilliant idea’ by a patient whose life was saved by the city’s cardiac doctors.

Michael Bell, aged 52, from Woodlands, Doncaster, needed a stent – a small implant which holds open a blocked artery – seven years ago after suffering four heart attacks.

Last week the former pit-worker returned to the Northern General to undergo an angiogram and to have a new stent fitted when one of his arteries became blocked again.

“They put the cameras inside me, and I was able to watch the operation myself,” he said.

“It’s quite relaxing, they put a bit of music on and the surgeon talks to you. It’s nothing to be afraid of.

“It’s surreal because it’s actually happening to you, and you can actually see the work being carried out.

“There are lucky people and there are those who are not so lucky. Hopefully this new system will give people a stronger chance of survival.”

Michael, who lives with his partner and stepdaughter, added: “I just have to take things a little bit easy now until everything is working right again. You have to walk before you can run.”

The lives of one in six men and one in nine women are claimed by coronary heart disease, the illness responsible for angina and heart attacks.

“It’s a very serious problem,” said Dr Morris.

“The heart is a very active organ.

“It beats from before you are born until the day you die, and beats at least once a second, so it requires a lot of energy.

“The fuel – blood – is supplied by the arteries. Coronary heart disease occurs when these fuel pipes get blocked up with fatty deposits or plaque. This causes problems with blood flow and issues like angina and heart attacks.

“Sometimes somebody will need a stent – which is a very common procedure – or for more advanced cases sometimes we’ll do bypass surgery.

“To decide whether people need that we look at their angiogram.”

Anyone who experiences pain in their chest for more than a few minutes is advised to ring 999 immediately.

The ambulance crew will record a heart tracing, and if signs of a heart attack are found, will take patients straight to the Northern General for treatment.