Twelve months ago, 56-year-old Michael Stanfield was running marathons.
He had no family history of heart disease, but last July he almost died from it. During a weekend run, he collapsed in the streets. Luckily, a cardiologist was passing by and administered CPR. Mr Stanfield was taken to the hospital where he had a double bypass. “I was running 20 kilometres on the weekends and halfway through one of those runs, I didn’t have any feelings, I didn’t know anything was going wrong, I don’t even remember what happpened. I just dropped, dropped in the street,” he said.
“I never expected I would have a heart attack.” “I sort of changed my thought process there, to say ‘well, I shouldn’t be thinking gee why was it me, I should be thinking about wow I’m lucky to be alive’.”
Mr Stanfield is one of 55,000 Australians who suffer a heart attack each year and health experts want the public to know that anyone is at risk. Ten thousand Australians die from heart attacks annually and at least half of these deaths are attributed to repeat heart attacks. The interactive pod, in the centre of Melbourne, goes through the process of a typical heart attack. Luckily in this scenario, you’re given a second chance at life but that isn’t always the end of the journey. It’s believed almost one-third of heart attack patients hospitalised each year are repeat victims. Dr Rob Grebfell says those statistics also impact on the country’s economy. “Over $6 billion and up to $8 billion is spent on direct health care costs for people’s subsequent heart attacks after they’ve had their first one. Now this is a missed opportunity,” he said. Heart health experts estimate that by reducing the number of repeat heart attacks by 25 per cent, they’ll not only save more than a thousand lives, but reduce the cost to the economy by $2 billion each year. Mr Stanfield has taken steps to reduce his chances of a repeat attack, switching running for walking, slightly modifying his diet and starting work at a less-stressful job.