Rise in number of heart attack patients prompts East of England Ambulance to issue advice to public on preventing cardiac arrests

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust ambulance.

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust ambulance. - Credit: Archant

Ambulance staff are calling on the public to take steps to reduce the risk of developing a heart attack amid a rise in 999 call-outs for the condition.

Last year saw a 13pc rise in the number of cardiac arrest calls from residents in Norfolk to East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) - compared to 2014/15.

In Suffolk EEAST experienced a similar rise (10.7pc) while the number increased in Cambridgeshire by 8.2pc.

A cardiac arrest, when a person has stopped breathing with no heart beat and is unconscious, needs immediate life-saving care such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a defibrillator.

Due to the rise the trust is urging people to make simple lifestyle changes to help their long-term health and reduce the risks of developing a heart attack.


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Tips include:

- Adopting a healthy and balanced diet to help lower cholesterol levels;

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- Drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol per week;

- Being active by doing a recommended 150 minutes of physical exercise per week.

- Stopping smoking.

Marcus Bailey, a consultant paramedic, said: 'Cardiac arrests are our highest priority calls and our staff do their very best to resuscitate these patients.

'However we are urging people to act now to think about how they avoid a cardiac emergency in the future.

'It is important that we look after our hearts.

'Simple steps such as a balanced diet, getting your blood pressure checked, and staying active will help avoid a 999 call for an emergency ambulance.'

Patient improved diet after suffering heart attack

Heacham councillor Robert Pritchard said he cut out biscuits and chocolate after suffering a life-threatening heart attack earlier this year.

Mr Pritchard, of Rolfe Crescent, Heacham, and a member of Heacham Parish Council, was rushed to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital last April - where surgeons performed an emergency operation.

He had been gardening when he began to suffer chest pains.

But three hours after being picked up by paramedics, Mr Pritchard was drinking tea with the doctors who saved him - following successful surgery.

Since then he has lived a healthier lifestyle and lost weight.

Mr Pritchard, 72, who was one of 1,814 Norfolk heart attack patients treated by the ambulance service in 2015/16, said: 'What happened was a big shock to my body.

'I told myself not to eat biscuits, chocolates, and sweets - and I went on to lose half a stone and my cholesterol level came down.

'Now I feel very stable.'

EEAST is organising an awareness week this week to encourage people to look after their heart and to know what to do in an emergency.

For more information click here.

Have you got an ambulance story? Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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