A dad-of-three from Brentford who received pioneering treatment after suffering a heart attack this week hailed the life-saving procedure - which took less time than to queue at his bank.
Andrew Solecki, 45, of Lateward Road, was rushed to hospital on October 22 after the attack, which was caused when one of his arteries became completely blocked.
An hour later he was undergoing primary angioplasty, a procedure carried out under local anaesthetic which involves unblocking arteries by inflating a tiny balloon, inserted through a tube, which leaves an expandable wire mesh tube in place to maintain blood flow.
Andrew, director of Brentford-based construction company Victosev, marvelled at how fast the whole procedure was.
"I was on the operating table within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital," he told the Chronicle.
"And the procedure took under 40 minutes which, amazingly, is less time than I spent queuing at the bank earlier that morning."
Only a quarter of patients currently undergo the operation but government health chiefs hope that primary angioplasty will be available to every patient within three years.
The treatment is only available at 10 NHS hospital across the UK but Andrew was lucky enough to live near Hammersmith Hospital - one of the places where a pilot angiography service was set up, in 2003.
"I was very lucky to get this treatment," he said. "I'm trying to change my lifestyle and the way I eat. I used to smoke about 20 a day, but now I've stopped."
Until now the most common heart attack treatment was thrombolysis, where drugs were used to break down blood clots.
However, the drugs fail to restore blood flow for around a third of patients.
Dr Chris Baker, consultant cardiologist and head of angioplasty at the Imperial College NHS Trust, said: "Thrombolysis has, at best, a 70 per cent success rate in unblocking the blood flow, and even in successful cases flow may only be partially restored.
"Angioplasty deals with both the clot and the narrowing and in more than 90 per cent of patients the flow will be returned to normal."
The people most likely to receive angioplasty as a first port of call are those, like Andrew, who have suffered the most serious form of heart attack.
This is where a clot completely blocks the blood flow from one of the heart's arteries, and affects almost half of the 60,000 people who suffer heart attacks each year.
If the Government target is met, the majority of these will receive primary angioplasty by 2011, while patients with milder attacks may have it as a secondary treatment after being given thrombolysis.