View Full Version : Specialist's heartfelt plea to sufferers

19-Oct-12, 10:44
Seek help the moment you start feeling unwell

“Don’t wait ‘til it’s too late”- that’s the stark message from a leading Highland cardiac specialist to people who think they may be having a heart attack.
Professor Stephen Leslie implored sufferers to act, when something irregular was happening to them and get medical help, or at least advice.
He was addressing Caithness Heart Support Group, recently, about his role as a cardiac consultant at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.
Professor Leslie urged potential heart patients not to adopt an all- too-common response to symptoms such as breathing difficulties and chest pain, yet delay, before getting help.
He went on:“Their reaction is – ‘I don’t want to bother the doctor’ or ‘I’ll wait until the surgery is open’. If you think you are having a heart attack, or you are aware of someone having one, please use the medical services, make the best use of current technology and dial 999, immediately, to get a diagnosis over the telephone. Don’t leave it until it is too late.”
Professor Leslie highlighted the impact that technology had played in the field of medicine over the years, particularly in identifying heart problems and treating them. A hundred years ago surgeons would advocate complete rest for a post-heart operation patient, for several months whereas, in the present day, a patient would have his operation, be discharged and return for his check-up, all in a matter of days.
There was currently a considerable amount of hi-tech innovation, including the latest in heart valves and even artificial hearts, but the professor said that one of the things which “drove him bonkers” was the slow speed at which such cutting-edge technology “drifted north”, from England and Wales.”
He paid tribute to organisations such as Caithness Heart Support Group, for the important contribution they make in funding medical equipment in their communities and also acknowledged the work of the “fantastically-talented nurses on his team at Raigmore Hospital.
He instanced the case of a heart patient on the way there, in an ambulance, paradmedics having radioed ahead with relevant information and received advice, and went on: “The time from arrival to getting the patient onto the operating table and accessing the heart is between 10-15 minutes. There’s no mucking about...everyone is focussed."
The professor took the opportunity to rebuff the misconception that the Highlands was a healthy place to live. There were currently 10,000 people with coronary heart disease in an area with a relatively small population and he commented: “It is a big problem we have to sort out.” Helicopters had also played an important part in getting patients to hospital quicker.
Challenges lay ahead, declared the professor, and there was “not enough money around”. The number of hospital beds had dropped by 50 percent in the last 20 years, but against that, the patients’length of stay in hospital had also decreased.
He said:“One of the biggest challenges of the future, will be the number of people reaching the age of 75, which is going to double in the next 20 years and who are going to be at risk of having coronary heart disease. How we treat patients within the resources available to us, will also be a challenge and I’m not quite sure how that is going to go. What is the future?...for me, it will be getting the best possible care for my patients.”
The professor advocated walking as one of the best ways to keeping the heart healthy and stressed: “Exercise does not necessarily mean getting the lycra on and going down to the gym.”
In an address interspersed with humour, he told of how he had popped into see his young son’s in his bed. The lad was nursing a cold at their home and dad asked if there was anything he could do.
Leslie junior rejected the offer telling dad –“You only know about hearts.”
On another occasion, at an address, he was extolling the virtues of a certain piece of equipment, when a west coast islander piped up: “Can we get it on Skye”?