Case study

Mr Collinson, 47 from Blackpool:

Mr Collinson, a professional who is very active and healthy with no prior medical complaints was on a trip to Ireland with friends for a weekend. On the last night of the trip he had a few drinks and awoke the next morning feeling a little worse for wear.

He said: “I was sick and then had what felt like acid indigestion so I went to the chemist and got some off the shelf tablets. I assumed it was connected to the drinks I had the night before. I don’t normally drink to excess. I went about the rest of the day preparing for the return journey.”

He managed to put up with the irritation for the morning and carried his suitcase through the airport, through check in and flew back to Liverpool airport.

“It wasn’t at all like the classic crippling pain you expect from a heart attack.”

It wasn’t until he was nearly home that he realised the indigestion hadn’t eased and he began to feel pins and needles in his left arm.

“I knew then that this was something I should get checked out. But I still went home and had a drink and unpacked my car before going to A&E.”

Sixteen hours after he first started with symptoms Mr Collinson was in hospital undergoing an operation to have a stent placed in his coronary arteries (heart arteries) to clear the blocked artery.

He spent nine days in hospital and a further three weeks recovering at home. The normal time spent in hospital is three days.

Due to his late presentation Mr Collinson has permanent muscle damage to the left side of his heart.

He said: “I’ve been told that I could have had a cardiac arrest at any time and that would have been the end of me.

“The lesson really is that if you have symptoms that don’t go away when you expect they should then don’t hang about and get checked straight away.”