“This can’t be happening. I’m only 42!”
Or 32. Or 52. Regardless of age, a heart attack can strike at any time…and when it does, time is of the essence. Take it from 42-year-old northwest suburban resident Michael Alter.
In September of 2010, Michael experienced the classic signs of a heart attack—shortness of breath, weakness, chest pain—but was in denial. By the time he was taken by a neighbor to a Northwest Community Hospital Immediate Care Center, he was in the throes of a major heart attack. An ambulance brought him to Northwest Community Hospital and, in short order, he was taken to the Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab.
Manjeet Sethi, MD, chief of Cardiology, performed a minimally invasive angioplasty, in which a mesh stent was secured to the inside walls of a partially blocked artery, ensuring uninterrupted blood flow and minimizing further heart damage.
Michael was lucky. Lucky he was near the first hospital in the northwest suburbs to be designated as an accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society for Chest Pain Centers. Lucky Northwest Community Hospital has a dedicated interventional team that’s performed thousands of cardiac procedures. And lucky he didn’t wait any longer.
After a brief hospital stay, Michael went home and then began a monitored twelve-week exercise regimen prescribed by his physician at Northwest Community Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program. Michael attends classes three times a week at the Hospital’s Wellness Center, where Cardiac Rehab staff monitor him via a portable telemetry unit while he performs supervised exercises.
According to exercise physiologist Steve Sarg, the program offers more than just exercise. “The main focus is to retrain the heart to become stronger and more efficient, while educating the patient on risk factors and modifications [to lifestyle and diet],” he says.
So Michael was lucky in another regard. Lucky he encountered a staff dedicated to ensuring that he changes his life for the better.
Learn more about NCH’s comprehensive cardiac services, including the advanced ablation procedure that saved Michael's life.
To read other patient success stories, click here.
Dr. Sethi performed an angioplasty, a procedure in which a catheter is inserted into an artery through a small incision. At the end of the catheter sits a balloon with a flexible steel mesh tube called a stent. Once the balloon is positioned inside the arterial blockage, it’s inflated, pushing the blockage through the walls of the artery. After the balloon is deflated, the mesh stent is embedded into the walls of the artery, strengthening it and maintaining a proper channel for blood flow. The catheter is then guided back through the artery and removed via the tiny incision.
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