"Why Are These Heart Patients Celebrating?"
Heart patients celebrating? It sounds strange, but it's true.
The reason they're celebrating is because of the high quality and compassionate care they received at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. Some proudly call themselves "survivors."
Here are a few of their inspirational stories...
George's Story: From Sudden Heart Attack to Active Living Again
George has always been an active guy, playing racquetball, hiking and skiing. One day, while at home, he began to feel a unique pain in his chest. As the pain continued, he realized that this could be something serious, so he went to the hospital, which was only a few blocks from his home.
The physicians and cardiologist in the emergency department quickly determined that George was having a heart attack. He was taken to the cardiac catheterization lab where his cardiologist opened the blockage in his arteries and restored the flow of blood to his heart.
While the angioplasty procedure was initially successful, George's cardiologist determined that the best treatment for him was heart bypass surgery. During his open-chest procedure, Memorial's cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Bryan Mahan, was able to create new pathways for blood to reach George's heart.
George graduated from the cardiac rehabilitation program at Memorial Hospital and now he continues to exercise four to five times a week at the gym, he works in his garden, hikes, and skis. "I am not limited at all... I’m doing anything I want to do," says George.
Stephanie's Story: Strange Symptoms Explained
Stephanie didn't experience the typical symptoms of heart disease. She had extreme nausea and shortness of breath, but did not have chest pains, crushing pain, or pain down the arm.
She consulted a family doctor and was diagnosed with everything from being pregnant to having acid reflux to having a panic disorder. Following her intuition, Stephanie didn't give up. She called her insurance provider who granted her request for a stress test.
The test should have been easy. After all, Stephanie was active, a non-smoker, not diabetic, a healthy weight, and did not have a family history of heart problems.
A walk in the park, right?
Wrong. Stephanie collapsed on the treadmill during the test. Her cardiologist told her she might have a blocked artery and sent her to the cardiac catheterization lab at Memorial Hospital for further testing.
As soon as she arrived, her physician inserted a heart catheter and gave her the news: her left anterior descending (LAD) artery, a main artery of the heart, was 99 percent blocked. She would eventually be diagnosed with three blocked arteries and would need four stents to treat her heart condition.
Stephanie praises the care she received at Memorial, "I can’t actually say enough good things about the cath lab staff! While I was scared, they were able to make me laugh. They made me feel good."
Now more than a year later, Stephanie has important advice: "If you are trying to make changes in your life to be healthy, keep it up because it kept me alive. To this day, I have no heart damage, I never had a heart attack. My heart is very healthy."
John's Story: A Big Halloween Scare
John, a college instructor, had a big scare on Halloween.
After not feeling well and experiencing difficulty breathing, his wife called an ambulance, setting in motion a powerful program for rapidly treating heart patients.
After John was transported by ambulance, he was surprised to find the cardiac alert team ready and waiting for him in the emergency department at Memorial Hospital. There, the team carefully orchestrated a complete assessment and sent him to the cardiac catheterization lab, where they would begin his treatment, all within our goal of less than 70 minutes.
John was to find out later he had what is commonly referred to as "the widowmaker"—a main heart artery was 100 percent blocked. This is serious stuff, and can be fatal. But even with the serious condition, he joked with the nurses and staff. "I just felt so comfortable in their care," he says.
Since that day, John has come away with five stents and heaps of praise for the Memorial team. He says quite simply, "They saved my life."
All of these people faced major heart conditions, but persevered. No one can ever guarantee the outcome of a medical condition. But these people took the right first step. They sought professional medical help from top cardiovascular doctors and specialists through the heart and vascular center at Memorial Hospital.
How to Get Help Now
If you have a cardiovascular condition, it is critical you get care as soon as possible.
» Find a doctor online, or
For health questions, health classes or help finding a doctor, ask our nurses at HealthLink by calling 719-444-CARE (2273).
To learn more about the heart and vascular center at Memorial Hospital, please keep reading.
At Memorial, our mission is to provide the highest quality health care. Therefore, it's our job to do everything we can to help you make the right health care decision. This web site guides you through important steps that help you understand the healing process and the programs we have available at our heart and vascular center.
The next web page explains how to contact our heart and vascular center and lists other important contact information.
» Step 5: How to contact our heart and vascular center