A grandmother has told of her holiday horror after mistaking a heart attack for bad indigestion.
Tina Murphy, from Manchester, first noticed an ache in her arm at breakfast during the third day of her trip to Marrakesh, Morocco, in December 2019.
But the 58-year-old dismissed the pain, believing it was just ‘heartburn’ and instead took ‘some Gaviscon and mint tea’.
It was only once Ms Murphy experienced chest pain as the day wore on that her 54-year-old partner John grew increasingly concerned.
After retreating to her room for a lie down, he alerted hotel staff, who dispatched a doctor.
Tina Murphy, from Burnage in Manchester, first noticed an ache in her arm at breakfast during the third day of her trip to Marrakesh in December 2019. Pictured with her partner John, 54
The 58-year-old (pictured) dismissed the pain, believing it was just ‘heartburn’ and instead took ‘some Gaviscon and mint tea’. It was only after experiencing chest pain as the day wore on, that her partner John, 54, grew increasingly concerned
Upon arrival at Clinique International Marrakech, Ms Murphy (pictured) had bloods taken as well a heart scan and electrocardiogram (ECG) – a simple test to check the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity
Doctors discovered one of Ms Murphy’s main artery’s was blocked and successfully performed an angioplasty procedure, inserting three short wire mesh tubes – stents – to re-open it. Pictured, the bruising she experienced after the stents were fitted
Ms Murphy said: ‘It wasn’t until the late afternoon that the pain got worse, it was getting tighter and then the chest pain was getting worse.
‘Around 4:30pm I could feel a sensation going up my neck.’
The medic assessed the grandmother-of-three and phoned for an ambulance to take her to hospital.
‘I turned to John and said, “I am going to feel like a right fraud”, Ms Murphy said.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack, known medically as a myocardial infarction, occurs when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked.
Symptoms can include chest pain – a feeling of pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across your chest, shortness of breath, and feeling weak and anxious.
Nausea and vomiting are other common signs.
While the most common symptom in both men and women is chest pain, women are more likely to have other symptoms such as shortness of breath, feeling or being sick and back or jaw pain.
Heart attacks are commonly caused by coronary heart disease, which can be brought on by smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Treatment is usually medication to dissolve blots clots or surgery to remove the blockage.
Reduce your risk by not smoking, exercising regularly and drinking in moderation.
Heart attacks are different to a cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, usually due to a problem with electrical signals in the organ.
Source: NHS Choices
‘But he told me it doesn’t matter if there is nothing wrong with me, I just need to be looked at.’
Upon arrival at Clinique International Marrakech, she had bloods taken as well a heart scan and electrocardiogram (ECG) – a simple test to check the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.
Speaking about the ordeal, Ms Murphy, a community development officer, added: ‘Nothing came up either on the ECG or the heart scan.’
She also claimed doctors said they would check up on her after 30 minutes, when she was placed in a side ward.
But while waiting, she suddenly experienced a severe pain prompting her partner to alert medics who transferred her to an assessment room.
Ms Murphy said: ‘I still had no clue what was going on.
‘They wheeled me out of the room and told my partner I was very poorly and he couldn’t come into the room.’
She added: ‘When we got in, I started to hear them all talking and they started talking about stents.
‘At that point, I knew I was having a heart attack.’
Doctors discovered one of her main artery’s was blocked and successfully performed an angioplasty procedure, inserting three short wire mesh tubes – stents – to re-open it.
She was discharged after being monitored for seven days and has now made a full recovery.
But Ms Murphy cautioned she now worries about suffering a second attack.
She said: ‘When I got told I was having a heart attack I was so annoyed, as daft as it sounds.
‘It was like, ‘Why has it happened to me?’. I have a history of heart problems in my family but I thought I had got away with it.’
She added: ‘I have had a fear over the last few years thinking, ‘Could today be the day, when I won’t be as lucky?
‘It has been very difficult to deal with.’
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart attacks and strokes, kills more people across the world than any other illness.
The World Health Organization estimates 18million people are killed by the condition every year, accounting for over 30 per cent of all global deaths.
The British Heart Foundation estimates that more than seven million people are now living with CVD in the UK.
According to the charity, the total annual healthcare cost of cardiovascular disease in England is £7.4billion.
Meanwhile in the US, CVD contributes to every one in five deaths – or around 697,000 – each year, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also approximate.
Between 2017 and 2018, it was also estimated to have cost the country around $229billion.