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Dr Arun Goyal with patient Mohammad Siddiqui Image Credit: RAK Hospital

Dubai: Being in the right place at the right time proved the difference between life and death for 49-year old Pakistani expatriate Mohammad Siddiqui.

On September 17, while on his water delivery duty close to RAK Hospital, he experienced chest pain and collapsed.

He was rushed to the hospital’s emergency ward where medics immediately administered resuscitation and repeated shocks to bring him back to life. A quick ECG (electrocardiography) confirmed that Mohammad had suffered a heart attack and an angiography revealed that all five of his arteries in his heart were 70-100 per cent blocked.

Yet Mohammad had no clue leading up to this incident that he was even remotely ill.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a silent killer that strikes those who least expect it, and the only way to detect it is preventive screening, say doctors, who add that subsequent diet and lifestyle changes can then help remedy the situation.

Ahead of World Heart Day on Sunday, RAK Hospital shared Mohammad’s tale in order to prompt others to get themselves checked.

Mohammad had to undergo Rescue Angioplasty for the right coronary artery that was completely blocked. This was followed by off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) where doctors put four more grafts in his blocked arteries. Thanks to quick action Mohammad was back on his feet within a week.

Dr Arun Goyal, Senior Consultant and Head of Cardiac Surgery Department at RAK Hospital who operated on Mohammad, said UAE residents should read the signs leading up to a heart attack that include discomfort and chest pain.

“We all know that the first hour is crucial when it comes to heart attacks, and the medical help a patient gets in that time period can prove to be a life-saver,” said Dr Goyal, “However, what we often see is that people fail to recognise the symptoms or wait for the discomfort to pass, thinking that they will consult a doctor later.”

In June of this year a 45-year old Yemeni expatriate who was jogging in Khawaneej Park after sunset, collpased suddenly.

A passerby summoned the ambulance and paramedics from the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) rushed to the site with a defibrillator to get the heart beating again.

A cardiology team comprising of doctors; Mahmood Azmi, Adel Sissi, VJ Sebastian and Murli Neelkathan, carried out clot removal and stenting in between cycles of CPR as the main artery of the patient was completely blocked.

The clot was cleared and a stent was fitted anbling the patient to be up and about within a few days of surgery. Doctors say the episode could have been fatal had not the ambulance arrived and revived the patient in time.

Impact of blocked arteries

Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to your heart muscle. The build-up of plaque, cholesterol-containing deposits in the arteries causes the arteries to thicken slowing down blood supply to the heart which results in the heart muscle receiving less bood supply. The heart has to pump harder. This can be especially noticeable during physical activity, when your heart is beating more rapidly. At first, the restricted blood flow may not cause any symptoms. However, over time, as the plaque continues to accumulate and your arteries narrow, you may develop signs of coronary artery disease.

Five major reasons for artery blocks

  • Smoking causes plaque build up
  • A diet rich in saturated fats such as red meat and trans fat present in processed foods
  • Obesity
  • High choleterol, lipids and triglycerides in blood result in plaque deposits in arteries
  • Sedentary lifestyle, with no exercise

Five signs of an impending heart attack:

  • Chest pain, tightness and breathlessness
  • Nausea, Indigestion and Heartburn
  • Pain that maybe arising in the chest but radiating to your left arm
  • Feeling faint and dizzy.
  • Pain radiating to your jaw

Free heart checks on September 29

  • Prime Hospital and all Prime health clinics offer free consultation for heart, cholesterol, blood pressure, Random blood Sugar from 9am-1pm and 5pm-8pm for all residents
  • RAK Hospital offers free heart screening by cardiologists, which will includes height, weight, blood pressure, sugar levels and ECG if required between 9am-4pm