A grandmother has explained how she believed she was suffering from "bad indigestion" on holiday, but it was actually a sign of a heart attack.
Tina Murphy, 58, a community development officer from Burnage, Manchester was in Marrakech with her partner John, 54, when she started getting chest and arm pains. She dismissed it as indigestion, but as the day went on she realised it wasn't going away.
The hotel reception arranged for her to be seen by a doctor, who advised that Murphy needed urgent medical care.
Having been blue lighted to hospital, Murphy spent a week there, recovering from a procedure to fit stents in her arteries.
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First heart attack signs
The couple were having breakfast during their November 2019 trip when Murphy started experiencing pains.
"It just felt like bad indigestion," she explains. "But I also had an ache in my arm. I took some Gaviscon and had some mint tea, thinking it was heartburn. The pain then stopped for an hour or so and we had a game of shuffleboard. But it kept coming back and it would come back more intense."
Murphy says it wasn't until late afternoon that the pain started getting really unbearable, with her chest feeling tighter.
"Around 4:30pm I could feel a sensation going up my neck," she continues. "But I couldn't relate any of this to a specific symptom of something and kept wondering why I was getting it."
Murphy, a grandmother-of-three, went to the couple's room for a lie down while John went to the reception to ask for someone to check on his wife.
After giving Murphy a check-up, the doctor immediately phoned for an ambulance.
"I turned to John and said, 'I am going to feel like a right fraud'," she says of the moment. "But he told me it doesn't matter if there is nothing wrong with me, I just need to be looked at."
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Heart attack treatment
At the hospital, Murphy underwent an ECG, a heart scan and had blood taken, but she says nothing appeared to show up on the ECG or scan.
"They put me in a side ward and said they would come and check on me in 30 minutes," she explains.
But, while they were waiting, her pain returned - more severely - and she started sweating. John rushed for medical help and his partner was taken into an assessment room.
"I still had no clue what was going on," she says. "They wheeled me out of the room and told my partner I was very poorly and he couldn't come into the room.
"When we got in the room, I heard the doctors talking about stents. At that point, I knew I was having a heart attack."
Further tests revealed Murphy's main artery was closed, so she had to undergo an angioplasty procedure to have three stents fitted.
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An angioplasty procedure is used to widen blocked or narrowed coronary arteries (the main blood vessels supplying the heart).
The NHS explains that the term "angioplasty" means using a balloon to stretch open a narrowed or blocked artery.
However, most modern angioplasty procedures also involve inserting a short wire mesh tube, called a stent, into the artery during the procedure. The stent is left in place permanently to allow blood to flow more freely.
Heart attack recovery
Following the procedure Murphy remained in hospital for a week before being discharged.
"As daft as it sounds, when I was told I was having a heart attack I was so annoyed," Murphy explains. "I have a history of heart problems in my family but I thought I had got away with it."
While she is now well Murphy says she still worries about having another heart attack. "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," she adds.
Additional reporting SWNS.
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