Published: Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
New heart treatment saves marathon man
Marathon runner, William Heirs, 43, was able to personally thank the medical team that saved his life using new heart attack protocols developed between the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital – one of the UK's leading cardiac centres.
Earlier this year, the father of two from Lenzie experienced chest pains during a distance run on the eastern banks of Loch Lomond at Rowardennan. An air ambulance helicopter was on scene within 14 minutes to diagnose, treat and fly William to the Golden Jubilee for vital cardiac treatment.
The adoption of new cardiac protocols meant that William arrived at the coronary care unit in time to receive life saving Primary Precutaneous Coronary Intervention (PPCI).
PPCI, also known as primary angioplasty, is an interventional procedure used for the treatment of heart attacks. The blocked artery responsible for the heart attack is opened and a stent is placed restoring normal blood flow and limiting damage to the heart.
The ambulance team were able to provide treatments to stabilise the patient, record an ECG of the patient, and alert the cardiologist at the hospital to their estimated time of arrival.
Identified as the gold standard of heart attack treatments, PPCI is a complex procedure that must be undertaken by highly trained staff in specialist cardiac centres.
Being in a remote area could have impacted Mr Heirs' chance of survival, but quick thinking in the ambulance dispatch centre resulted in an air ambulance response which ensured that he could reach specialist care at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in time.
Mr Heirs spoke of his gratitude to all involved in his rescue and treatment, saying: "Everyone was absolutely first class. I was lucid at the scene and remember my wife, who is a nurse, saying the road would be difficult for an ambulance to drive up. Someone was obviously thinking very quickly because right then the helicopter flew over and landed. It was an absolute godsend."
Daren Mochrie, Acting Director of Service Delivery, Scottish Ambulance Service, was among the paramedic team who treated Mr Heirs. He said:
"The decision to send the helicopter made a real difference to Mr Heirs' survival and recovery, allowing us to transfer him to the best possible care quickly. Under the new protocols, our crews are trained and equipped to quickly recognise cardiac cases that are appropriate for PPCI and work closely with cardiology teams across the country to ensure they receive prompt specialist care.
Dr Mitchell Lindsay, Consultant Cardiologist and Operational Lead for Cardiology at the Golden Jubilee, commented: "PPCI is a highly specialised heart attack treatment which saves lives and reduces the chance of further heart attacks in comparison to the traditional method of thrombolysis with clot busting drugs.
"We continue to focus on expanding and improving our Primary PCI service. This case illustrates the benefits of our close working relationship with the Scottish Ambulance Service and emphasises the importance of early and direct transfer to a specialist centre"