A patient treated successfully at St George’s Hospital after a heart attack has urged others to continue seeking urgent care and treatment if they become seriously unwell during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Keith Bell, 74, was taken to his local hospital by ambulance early on Thursday morning last week after waking up in the middle of the night with severe pain in his chest and left arm.

Keith was subsequently transferred to the heart attack centre at St George’s, where he was treated by the cardiology team, who inserted five stents – during two separate procedures – to repair blockages in Keith’s arteries.

Keith is now out of hospital and recovering at home, but in recent weeks, the cardiology team at St George’s has seen a reduction in the number of patients like Keith presenting to the service with severe chest pain, which can be a symptom of angina or a heart attack.

Dr Sam Firoozi, Consultant Cardiologist at St George’s and one of the team who treated Keith, said:

‘It is vitally important that patients like Keith seek urgent hospital treatment if they have symptoms that could be signs of a heart attack. People should follow Government advice and stay at home – but, if you become seriously unwell, it is crucial that you seek urgent medical attention in the same way you always would.

‘’’At St George’s, we have made changes to the way we deliver some services, but the way we deliver urgent and emergency care has not changed, and we are here 24/7, 365 for patients who need us.’’

Keith, who is married with two children and two grand-children, worked in legal services before retiring in 2011. He was also an amateur rugby referee for 40 years.

He said: ‘‘I didn’t think twice about phoning for the ambulance because both my wife and I knew straight-away what the symptoms could mean. I know it is a worrying time because of Covid-19, but the care I received in hospital was basically no different to previous times I’ve been. Staff were wearing PPE, but this was explained to me, and I felt safe whilst I was there. It’s good to be home though!’‘

If you have symptoms of sudden chest pain, you should call 999 – further information is available at www.nhs.uk/conditions/chest-pain/