Greville Knight, aged 55, knows he is lucky to be alive this Christmas.

The South Australian firefighter was the fittest he had ever been so when he felt what he called a “dull pain in his arm” at home one night, a heart attack was the last thing on his mind.

After ignoring his symptoms for two days, he finally visited his GP who performed a troponin blood test which rapidly detects heart attack risk by measuring levels of the protein troponin, released by damaged heart cells, in the blood.

The test was sent to a pathology lab for analysis and within an hour, the lab’s pathologist reported the results that revealed that Greville was about to have a heart attack. An ambulance was sent to his home and he was rushed to Lyell McEwin Hospital for urgent intervention. The hospital cardiologist identified three blocked arteries in his heart and performed emergency surgery.

Greville has made a full recovery since the incident and is extremely grateful to the pathology staff for their speedy work: “If it wasn’t for the rapid test results, I would have had a cardiac arrest at home and I might not be around to spend Christmas with my wife.”

Greville’s hometown Mallala is situated in the Adelaide Plains Council which has one of the highest rates of heart attack deaths in South Australia according to the Heart Foundation.

For people like Greville who live far from Adelaide’s hospitals, troponin blood tests can reduce heart attack deaths by ensuring a rapid diagnosis, and decreasing time spent in emergency departments.

Results are obtained in just 20 minutes and can save patients from having further tests and cut costs and hospital time.

The impact of this test was examined in the CIE Value Of Pathology report, which can be viewed here.

Thanks to the effectiveness of pathology many Australians like Greville are now living with greater understanding about their health status.

Watch the Channel 9 story on Greville and the pathology team below…