Vigilance urged around heart attack symptoms

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Dot Curry helped save the lives of her best friend and husband after they suffered heart attacks.

When Dot Curry's husband came inside from mowing the lawns and complained of chest pains, a sense of deja vu swept over her.

"Joe sat there and was rubbing his chest and I thought dear God, again," the 72-year-old said.

Two months earlier, Curry was pouring her friend, Neil Rendle, a cup of tea when he complained of severe chest pains.

Hamilton woman Dot Curry didn't hesitate to act when husband Joe Curry started rubbing his chest.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Hamilton woman Dot Curry didn't hesitate to act when husband Joe Curry started rubbing his chest.

On each occasion, Curry recognised the symptoms of a heart attack and acted immediately. 

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Her quick-thinking is credited with saving both men's lives.

"I like to think I was in the right place at the right time but you also have to be aware of what a heart attack can look like," Curry said.

"In Neil's case, he was in a lot of pain and was short of breath.

"But in Joe's case, he didn't seem too distressed, he just started sweating a lot and basically didn't feel good."

As a young woman, Curry witnessed her father suffer recurring heart attacks and became astute at picking the signs.

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"Sometimes a person may start acting grumpy for no reason and that can be a sign something isn't right."

The Heart Foundation is currently running a campaign encouraging people to dial 111 in a heart-related emergency.

Heart Foundation research has shown that more than 40 per cent of New Zealanders wouldn't call 111 immediately after experiencing hearth attack symptoms.

Waikato DHB cardiologist Dr Gerry Devlin said the sooner a person receives treatment, the more likely they are to survive.

"If you suffer a heart attack you're also at risk of serious heart rhythm problems. That's why we want people to dial 111 and get you in an ambulance so we can check for any rhythmic disturbance," Devlin said.

"There's been a lot of improvement in heart attack treatment over the past 50 years. The problem is we don't get to see everyone that has a heart attack."

 - Stuff

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