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Martin Arnold, aged 57 from Eastham, suffered a massive heart attack having been told only a few months previously that his heart was in perfect working order. Martin, who runs a construction and joinery company, Arnold Joinery and Building, regularly participated in sprint marathons, fell running and was part of a running club.

In 2018, he started having the occasional heart flutter. He mentioned it to his 80-year-old mother who decided to book him an appointment with his GP. Sadly, she passed away two weeks after making the appointment and although Martin did not think there was anything wrong, he went along as he felt it was his mother’s last ‘show of care’.

The GP took down his history and sent him straight to hospital for further checks. At the hospital he did an exercise stress test and was given a 24 holter monitor to wear. When he went back for the results the doctor said that his heart was in perfect working order and that couldn’t believe how well he had performed on the exercise test. Had they of done a CAC calcium score test the discussion would have been quite different – as it is very likely there was calcified plaque building up in the arteries around his heart.

Some months later, Martin was in bed when he started feeling sick and having chest pains. He came downstairs to get himself a cup of tea and initially thought that it had suddenly become hot. He felt as if he couldn’t breathe, he went and the temperature seemed to increase dramatically. He called 999 and was initially taken to The Countess of Chester Hospital and then transferred to Broad Green Heart and Chest hospital where he had a stent fitted. Whilst the stent saved his life, it should never have come to this. Had Martin had a CAC or CTCA two years previously it is possible that with medication and some changes to his diet, he could have avoided this emergency surgery. Or, he could have had a stent fitted as a planned procedure and not gone through the trauma of a major heart attack.

Martin’s cardiac recovery has been slow but he is grateful for the life-saving surgery he had and now encourages all of his friends to go and get a calcium score test or whatever is necessary to ensure heart health.

Martin says

“I thought I was invincible; my mum had a pacemaker fitted aged 70 but she was smoker and went on to live until she was 81. Both my grandmas died of heart disease aged 70 and 77 but they were also smokers. I thought I was really fit and well. It never occurred to me that I would have a heart attack.

Now I say to everyone, make sure you get checked.”

A CT calcium score tests uses x-ray technology to look at the arteries around the heart in detail. It allows the cardiologist to spot any blockages or potential obstructions and give you accurate data on your likelihood of a heart attack in the next 5-10 years.

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