Half of the population don’t realise they have had one but Nuffield Health Bournemouth warns new research shows the silent heart attack is almost as harmful as a standard attack.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, and in many cases, can follow a silent heart attack which has gone unnoticed. Commonly confused with indigestion, a pulled muscle or even flu, the silent heart attack or silent myocardial infarctions (SMIs) occurs when the blood flow is temporarily restricted to the heart, resulting in potentially fatal scarring and damage.

Most sufferers never go to the hospital to have their symptoms checked out, missing out on vital diagnostics and treatments which could prevent it from developing into a more fatal attack at a later stage.

The research team from North Carolina revealed that women are most at risk and 50 per cent more likely to die within a decade of suffering a silent heart attack. While the risk in men increases by a quarter.

Consultant cardiologist at Nuffield Health Bournemouth, Dr Talwar, said: “The very nature of SMI is that there are no or very mild symptoms which are depriving patients of treatments which can prevent an early death. It is vital to make the public aware of the dangers of leaving SMIs undetected and untreated.

“In recent years the diagnostic equipment available has improved substantially, with the introduction of the first state-of-the-art private cardiac catheter suite at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, allowing for an increase in more detailed and accurate diagnosis. Those in any doubt should be investigated fully to screen for risk and prevent more serious cardiac episodes in the future.”

Part of a major £5 million renovation project, the new cardiac catheter suite enables patients to receive a full cardiac service, including echo, CT scanning of the heart, out-patient diagnostic and an in-patient day case cardiology facility at Nuffield Health Bournemouth.

The Nuffield Health cardiology team offers a rapid access chest pain clinic on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to ensure a speedy response for all patients seeking treatment for heart issues.

Those interested in finding out more about the rapid access chest pain clinic and self-pay options are invited to contact the Nuffield Health Bournemouth customer services team on 01202 375032.