My cardiologist said because of my quick action and quick treatment, I have had minimal damage to the heart muscle.

A retired biology teacher who survived a heart attack at his Jan Juc holiday home is urging people not to ignore the warning signs.

In November 2022, 73 year-old Greg Stafford drove from Melbourne to Jan Juc, and developed chest pain as he arrived at his holiday house.

“It is a trip I often make by myself and I felt fine in the car until I got to Jan Juc,” Mr Stafford said.

“I pulled into the driveway and I felt terrible. I had a bit of a cold sweat, but there was no real agony pain. I just felt abnormal.”

When the pain didn’t subside, he knew he had to do something and drove two minutes to the local medical clinic.

“The doctor did an ECG and said there was an abnormality so called an ambulance and I was soon on the way to Epworth Geelong.”

“As soon as I arrived there was a cardiac team ready to meet me and I was pretty pale on admission. It was all pretty quick. Within an hour of arriving at Jan Juc I was on the operating table in the catheterisation lab to clear the blockage in the artery leading to my heart and insert three stents.”

Mr Stafford has since had another procedure to insert two more stents into cardiac arteries to improve blood flow to his heart.

“My cardiologist said because of my quick action and quick treatment, I have had minimal damage to the heart muscle.”

More than 6,000 cardiac procedures were carried out across Epworth last year.

Epworth Geelong interventional cardiologist Dr Thomas Yip said had Mr Stafford not acted so fast, the outcome could have been catastrophic.

“It was such a major coronary artery that was blocked that if Greg had not acted fast enough, it could have resulted in a large area of permanent damage to the heart or be potentially fatal,” said Dr Yip.

After his treatment, Mr Stafford took part in six weeks of cardiac rehabilitation.

“It was a mix of theory on heart health and the do’s and don’ts, and gym work on the treadmill and lifting weights, which was quite a workout.”

Mr Stafford said he is surprised so many arteries were blocked.

“I’ve never smoked, don’t eat much junk food and I thought I was reasonably fit. I was playing golf 2-3 times a week and my wife and I regularly ride 25 kilometres on our bikes in Melbourne and at Jan Juc.”

To celebrate his recovery, Mr Stafford is planning an overseas bike riding holiday.


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