Heart attack survivor Jason's journey to recovery with Nuffield Health's connected health services

While enjoying a friend’s stag do in Florida, Jason was admitted to hospital following a heart attack, aged 34. 21 years later, with three stents and open-heart bypass surgery, Jason explains how Nuffield Health’s connected healthcare services have supported his return to health.

Jason's heart attack scare in Florida

June 2002

“My journey goes back a long way. My yearly medical checks showed that my stress echo test wasn’t quite right, but I was a young guy and I was told it was nothing to worry about,” says Jason.

In June 2002, Jason was invited to a stag do in Florida. After paintballing in extreme heat Jason felt a little out of breath, experienced an aching pain in his arm and felt something wasn’t quite right. He visited the local medical centre in Florida, near to where he was staying on holiday.

“I felt a little bit of tightness in my chest and a little bit of tingling in my arms.”

“It wasn’t like what you see on television where people are in extreme amounts of pain. For me, it wasn’t painful. I just felt that something wasn’t right”. 

“My blood pressure was through the roof. I thought this was just because we had been paintballing, it was very hot, and I was dehydrated. They sent me straight to hospital where they performed some scans and tests including a troponin test. The doctor confirmed that I’d had a heart attack. I was just 34 years old,” explains Jason.

Jason was advised to remain in hospital so that an angiogram to examine the blood vessels, could be carried out.

He had a blockage in the left anterior descending artery, meaning the blood flow was severely restricted. “If I hadn’t gone to hospital, things would have been a lot different,” says Jason.

“While in Florida, they removed the clot in my left anterior descending artery (LAD). However, they also came across an additional narrowing in one of the branches and so a stent needed to be inserted,” Jason adds.

Surviving a second heart attack

July 2002

One month after returning from Florida, Jason attended a friend’s wedding in Colchester. However, as the ceremony started Jason’s symptoms of mild chest pain and tingling in the arms reappeared.

“I knew right away I needed to go to hospital. The doctors once again performed a troponin test and then informed me that I’d had a second heart attack,” says Jason.

Jason was transferred from Colchester to an NHS hospital in London. It was here that doctors advised him that a second stent was needed.

The diagnosis


“Two years after the second stent was inserted, I was diagnosed with in-stent restenosis. Restenosis is caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue. When a stent is first placed, healthy tissue from the lining of your cell walls grows inside it. This is good because it keeps your blood from clotting as it flows through the stent. However, scar tissue may form underneath the healthy tissue causing narrowing of the artery,” explains Jason.

As a result, a further angiogram was carried out.

“The cardiologists at this stage were a bit unsure of what to do as I already had two stents, which could not be removed. After discussions, it was decided to insert a drug-eluting stent within the stent I already had in my LAD. This was the first time the cardiologist had performed this, but he reassured me that it should work and that I would be fine,” says Jason.

Jason's coronary artery bypass surgery at St Bartholomew's Hospital

May 2023

After the third stent was inserted, Jason was pain and symptom free for nearly 20 years. However, earlier this year things began to deteriorate.

“It was earlier this year in May when I started to feel not quite right again.”

“It was a similar experience, I wasn’t in lots of pain or breathless, I just felt a little bit of tightness in my chest and a mild ache in my arm.”

Acutely aware of his past experiences, Jason was booked in to see Consultant Cardiologist, Professor Charles Knight at the London Independent Hospital.

“Professor Knight advised that they could do some scans or just go straight to the angiogram. He explained that if they found something on the MRI or CT scan, they would then have to carry out the angiogram anyway,” says Jason.

Under the care of Dr Andrew Archbold at Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Jason had an exploratory angiogram carried out.

“They now have this clever way of measuring a person’s blood flow rates in and around stented areas. Where my stents were, my blood flow had gone down to 72%. Dr. Archbold advised that the threshold is 80% and so he stopped the angiogram, so we could decide what to do next,” explains Jason.

He was provided with two options, another stent or open heart, single vessel bypass surgery.

“Following conversations with Professor Knight, Dr Archbold, Mr Wong and my family, I decided that surgery would be the best option as the stents, which initially may work, would probably fail within a short period of time.

“All three of the doctors involved in my care were incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and there was never any pressure to rush the conversations about my care,” states Jason.

Bypass surgery triumph

20 June 2023

He was admitted to Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital on 20 June 2023 for his coronary artery bypass surgery. “I knew I wanted my surgery done at Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. It is close to home, I knew I was in safe hands, and I was close by the main NHS Trust Hospital if anything did go wrong,” says Jason.

“The thing I couldn’t get my head around was what they were going to do with my sternum, although I eventually told myself “This is going to fix an issue I’ve had for over 20 years” so it was most definitely the best course of action. Every aspect of the operation, care, catering, and clinical staff was incredibly good,” adds Jason.

Jason's recovery with Nuffield Health's Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme

After speaking to the cardiologists and surgeon, Jason was told his heart problems may be genetic as there has been a family history of heart conditions.

“The medical professionals all seem to be happy with my progress. I will go for a follow up next year to check how I am doing and to review my medication. Physically I feel much better, my chest is healing well and mentally I am coping fine,” explains Jason.

Jason has recently been enrolled on our eight-week Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme at the Nuffield Health Barbican Fitness and Wellbeing Centre.

This 8-week programme includes physical assessments, fitness testing and heart health information sessions, which provide information about making healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of further heart problems.

“I can honestly say these sessions have been very useful and informative – going through things such as how the heart works, reviewing my diet, and stress management. The gym sessions are really impressive – there’s so much variety in the exercises I do plus opportunities to use the gym equipment,” says Jason.

Connected health

Nuffield Health’s purpose is to build a healthier nation and provide end-to-end care through its connected health services.

“The one thing that stood out across this whole journey is that Nuffield Health isn’t just a hospital, a gym, or a medical centre - it is all these things.”

“The one thing that stood out across this whole journey is that Nuffield Health isn’t just a hospital, a gym, or a medical centre - it is all these things.”

“I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the country that offers this full journey. Having been through what I have, this is invaluable,” explains Jason.

As he progresses further into his recovery, Jason reflects on his achievement of completing the London Marathon in 2017, raising £12,000 for the British Heart Foundation. His next goal is to complete the three-peaks challenge and get back to completing 100-mile cycling sportives.

Last updated Thursday 28 September 2023

First published on Thursday 28 September 2023