'I suddenly felt like I was being kicked in the chest' 

Lynn Connor had a coronary angioplasty after she had a heart attack. A quick diagnosis and treatment saved her life.

"I'd just got back from holiday in Cyprus and was feeling on top of the world. I had given all the grandchildren their presents, when I suddenly felt like I was being kicked in the chest. I knew I had to get to a doctor quickly.

"My GP knew immediately that I was having a heart attack and called an ambulance. I was lucky that I was given lifesaving, clot-busting drugs by the paramedics on the way to the hospital. That night, I was given an angioplasty, where a sort of balloon is put into your coronary artery to open it up. Five stents (which are like a stainless steel mesh) were then inserted to hold the artery open.

"Nobody knows what caused the attack, but my dad died of one when he was 66. Some people say it was because I smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 40 years. It could have been stress – my granddaughter had been diagnosed with cancer the same year. I believe it was probably a combination of things.

"After the operation, walking just 10 yards left me exhausted. Even eating was tiring. After a while, I went on a cardiac rehabilitation programme. It started off very gently. First, I did warm-up exercises, then I progressed to step-ups and the cycling machine, until finally I could go on the treadmill. I couldn't have done any of this without the help of my cardiac nurse, Lou, who was brilliant and very reassuring.

"I've always eaten a pretty healthy diet, but now I exercise more than I used to. I love swimming and I try to go every day. I’ve also given up smoking.

"I feel incredibly happy that I'm alive. Everyone else I've known who had a heart attack has died, but now I know that there can be life after a heart attack."

Page last reviewed: 09/11/2015

Next review due: 09/11/2017