Voice spoke to Paul Davies, a patient of St Joseph’s Hospital, who recently had an MRI scan due to having abnormal heart palpitations when fitness training.  Here’s what Paul had to say:

Tell us a bit about your sporting life?

I’m 41-years-old and have always been reasonably athletic. In school, I was a keen rugby player and swimmer. I competed at a local level in swimming until 16, when I decided to concentrate on rugby. I played flanker, but occasionally in the centre too. I stopped playing rugby around the age of 26 due to several ankle injuries and work commitments. I still enjoy watching rugby and my rugby heroes include Jonah Lomu and Richie Macaw. I then spent several years just going to the gym occasionally but not really remaining what I would consider fit and healthy. After starting a family and as I got older, I became more aware of my health. I remember feeling the need to watch my weight, so I decided to try and eat a more balanced diet and increase my exercise level. 

How did you go about improving your fitness levels?

I started off by taking up running and in 2012 aged 34 I ran my first half marathon in Llanelli. In 2013 I continued with a few half marathons then did my first triathlon at Porthcawl. It was a short distance swim, cycle and run. I was hooked. After a few years, I found myself wanting to push myself to do longer distances. I ran with two colleagues, 42 miles from Swansea to Cardiff to raise funds for Team Evsy. The money raised went to Velindre cancer centre. I have completed a few marathons and four Ironman Triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 miles cycle and a 26.2 mile Marathon). The training and racing keeps me fit and healthy. 

What made you decide to have an MRI scan?

After recently learning that there is a family history of heart issues, coupled with the tragic news of seemingly fit and healthy people passing away during or soon after some races and as I was pushing my body to complete longer distances I felt I should get a check-up. I had also noticed that I was having some occasional heart rate spikes during my activities which I found unusual. 

Why did you decide to go private?

I chose St Joseph’s Hospital in Newport as it was highly recommended by a family member, no waiting times, and they have state-of-the-art facilities. I don’t think anyone can put a price on health, so it wasn’t a factor for me.

What was your visit like to St Joseph’s Hospital?

It was a very positive experience. The staff were friendly and professional. The hospital was spotless and had a nice atmosphere about it. It reminded me of walking in to a very nice hotel rather than a hospital. There was a very short waiting time from booking the appointment to receiving the scans. After the MRI scans were completed, the results were made known to me within a couple of days. 

Any problems with your scan?

The results were positive with the report saying my heart and lungs were fit and healthy with no negative findings. I can now carry on my training and look forward to my next race – the Newport Marathon in April 2020 – without the worry in my mind over my heart health. 

As you were recommended to the hospital, would you do the same for others?

I would definitely recommend the service to anyone, especially those who have had any symptoms, have a family history of heart problems or are simply pushing their bodies hard in training or racing.  

If you have any heart problems or would like to find out more about the services provided by St Joseph’s Hospital, visit the website or call on the phone with the details below.

St Joseph’s One Stop Cardiac Centre provides same-day comprehensive assessment and diagnostic testing.


01633 820 301