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Prince Philip 'on verge of heart attack'

By Lizzie Robinson

The Duke of Edinburgh could have been "on the verge of" suffering a heart attack, an expert said.

Philip, 90, was successfully treated for a blocked coronary artery after being rushed to hospital with chest pains, Buckingham Palace confirmed last night.

He was taken from Sandringham to the cardiothoracic unit at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, where an "invasive procedure of coronary stenting" was performed.

Dr Simon Davies, consultant interventional cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, said: "It meant that the pain was from the heart. It means that one or more of the coronary arteries was badly narrowed or perhaps blocked.

"That meant that the blood was not passing through that artery so the muscle was starving of oxygen and in danger of dying, in other words a heart attack, or was on the verge of one.

"What they have done is they put a miniature sausage-shaped balloon down the artery, pushed the balloon into the narrowed section and then blown it up.

"That forces the material that is blocking the artery outwards and then gets the blood flowing down the artery again.

"The stent is like a little metal sleeve fitted over the balloon when it is blown up.

"This metallic sleeve is opened up and then when the balloon is deflated and withdrawn the stent stays behind."

He added that the blockage was likely to have been made up of cholesterol and a blood clot and Philip may be given blood-thinning tablets.

Dr Davies said it was "impossible to say" how long Philip could be kept in hospital.

But he added: "The fact is he must have looked after himself to be looking so well."

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