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A life-saving stent stops history repeating

Bruce feels much better after having a stent put in to unblock his arteries.

“My eyesight started to fade and it was like when you’re flying in an aeroplane through a cloud – initially you just see some white but then it quickly turns completely white and you can’t see at all, then it went black,” says Bruce Mourney.

Though he didn’t know it at the time, the Mt Eliza father of six was having a heart attack.

The episode happened just as Bruce was driving out of Pt Leo camping ground and luckily enough, he had time to pull over before his vision went.

“I came to and my son Sam, who was in the car with me, was trying to flag down help.”

“It was 3pm in the afternoon, I hadn’t eaten breakfast, lunch or had much water and I’d just gotten back from two weeks skiing in Japan the day before so I thought I was just fatigued.”

To be safe, Bruce asked Sam to take over driving for him. They continued on and 2km down the road it happened again. When he came to Bruce knew it was something far more serious than fatigue and asked Sam to drive him straight to Frankston Emergency Department.

“They did two electrocardiograms and in the second one they detected an anomaly,” says Bruce.

“Within 30 minutes I was in the Cath Lab (Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory) having surgery.”

“They discovered quite quickly I have large arteries, so they put in a large stent to unblock the narrowing.”

Being in the Cath Lab bought back memories from three years ago, when Bruce had his first heart attack. Despite the seriousness of the situation, he says the team, led by cardiologist Professor Jamie Layland, made him feel at ease.

“What I really liked was the rapport I had with Jamie and the personnel that were there.”

“You could say cracking the odd joke kept the environment happy rather than sad. It was good and upbeat and Jamie spoke through everything he was doing, moved machines so I could see the screen.”

After the stent was put in, Bruce felt much better and spent a few days recovering on WesternPort Ward.

“The nurses were excellent and the care level was fantastic, really great,” says the 53-year-old.

“Getting a Cath Lab team ready in 15 minutes, when people are enjoying their weekends, then get called in to come in and fix you, is pretty remarkable. I’m very happy to live where I live and have the back-up of Frankston Hospital nearby.”

Bruce is taking part in a Peninsula Health led research study to investigate the effect of a drug in preventing cardiac events.

“My father died of a heart attack at 53 and he had no chance, so at least I can contribute by being part of the research,” says Bruce.

“There are also a few other things I can do to improve my position – I need to sleep more because I usually only get a few hours a night and also eat regular breakfast and lunch, which I also fail to do a lot of.”

Bruce plans to spend a bit of time recovering and then easing back into routine, swimming with the Peninsula Pirates, running his Insurance Brokerage company and more travelling.

“The heart attack won’t stop me from doing anything – I just have to manage things a bit better.” Bruce says.

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Heart Stents

In 2016 more than 400 stent procedures were performed, making Peninsula Health a high volume centre.

Heart stenting unblocks a person’s arteries either to prevent a heart attack or to aid recovery afterwards.

Jessica Mills