Poised to enjoy life to the full

PUBLISHED: 15:30 03 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 22 October 2010

On Monday, Rodney Matthews will be the first person to undergo angioplasty at the N&N University Hospital.

On Monday, Rodney Matthews will be the first person to undergo angioplasty at the N&N University Hospital.


An important new procedure for heart patients becomes available at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Monday. Mark Nicholls, EDP Health Correspondent, meets the first person to benefit.


Construction manager Rodney Matthew is pinning his hopes on the angioplasty procedure helping him return to a normal lifestyle.

In recent months, he has had to "slow down" considerably as chest pains restrict his movement.

But on Monday the 54-year-old will become the first patient to receive angioplasty at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as the new service is launched in the county.

Mr Matthews of 22 Steepgreen Close, Norwich, had his diagnostic angiogram at the N&N on May 2 after his GP referred him to the chest clinic.

He said: "A few months ago I started to get pains in my chest. I knew they were no ordinary pains. It was pain I had not felt before. I went to my doctor and I had got a history of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I was hoping it was indigestion, but later I had pins and needles in my arms."

He had an electrocardiogram (ECG) and then an angiogram was arranged for him. It showed that one of the main arteries in his heart was narrowing and a small artery was only working at a percentage of what it should have been. He was told he needed an angioplasty.

Mr Matthews, who is married to Carol with a daughter Kelly, 28, said: "I hope that angioplasty will stop the pain and enable me to get back to normal. I was having to think more and more about what I was doing, I stopped 10-pin bowling because of the explosive nature of it, I had to think about everything rather than just jump up and do it, I had to pace myself."

Initially, he believed he would have to go to Papworth for his angioplasty but was delighted to hear that he would be able to have the procedure in Norwich, and be the first.

"I think it is great, I think many people are familiar with the N&N, where it is and how it functions so it is not going to be as stressful as going to Papworth.

"To be honest, they have put my mind quite at ease and when I have the angioplasty I will know what to expect after having the angiogram.

"I feel quite relaxed about it, I have got to have it done, my condition will only get worse but I hope to be back to the way I was beforehand. To be honest I have been reassured and hope to get myself back to how I want to be."

A non-smoker who has the occasional drink, Mr Matthews works as a construction manager on a private housing development.

"I do not carry that much extra weight either," he added. "But when something like this strikes, it pulls you back. If I go up a ladder to oversee something I had to take my time and do it when I am ready, I hope with this I will be able to get back to normal and it's great that I am going to get it resolved.

"I need to be fit and healthy, we have both got elderly parents and we need to be able to look after them."

If all goes to plan, Mr Matthew will go into the N&N on Monday, have the angioplasty and be home the next day, take it easy for a further seven days and then return to work.

Mrs Matthews is delighted that her husband is having the operation at the N&N.

She said: "I am pleased that we do not have to go to Papworth, that would have been hard for me and I would have to rely on somebody else to get me there.

"As well as that, having it done in Norwich means we are surrounded by family and friends, if I was in Cambridge I would have been on my own and been wandering around wondering if he was all right but here I have support and I would not be inconveniencing anybody either."

Consultant cardiologist at the N&N Leisa Freeman said: "Mr Matthews has a narrowing of the artery. He was being restricted in what he could do and having chest pain but once he has had the angioplasty he will go from strength and strength, be active and return to his job. He will be a 'doer' rather than a 'watcher.'"

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