Patient Success Stories

Patient Profile: Cardiac Care

Lifesaving heart care gets patient back into action

Angioplasty is the most effective procedure to save lives and reduce damage to the heart muscle when patients are suffering a heart attack. Performing emergency angioplasty within two hours of the onset of a heart attack has proven to minimize heart damage in 95 percent of all cases. Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH) is now

Sixty-nine-year-old North Reading resident Ronald Annand recently completed a journey that led him through every cardiac service available at Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) all to help him better his health and his lifestyle. Home alone he experienced chest pains and was brought to the emergency room (ER) at LMH.

That's where his journey began. Cardiologist David Samenuk, MD, FACC, said, "Ron went from the heat of the battle and surviving a major cardiac event to long term management. Our first priority is always to stabilize the patient while initiating the best care possible to reduce heart damage, while at the same time leading them and their families through the events they're experiencing. The best feeling is after the dust has cleared, knowing that you have made a substantial contribution to the long-term health and well being of the patient."

Comprehensive care through a winding road

After arriving in the ER and going through a battery of tests, Ron was admitted to LMH's cardiac care (telemetry) floor. The results of Ron's nuclear stress test, which produces images of the heart, confirmed that he was suffering from poor blood flow due to blocked arteries. In addition, a cardiac ultrasound showed a 90 percent blockage in his left carotid artery. The full work-up done on Ron at LMH showed exactly where the blockages were. Three days later, Ron underwent angioplasty at one of LMH's tertiary partners.

After a short stay in the hospital, Ron was home and hoping to make a fast recovery with the help of the visiting nurses program. However, a couple months later Ron felt a heavy sensation in his chest and told his nurse, "I think I'm having another heart attack."

According to Dr. Samenuk, "We knew Ron needed a catheterization, where we confirmed that his atherosclerosis (a condition in which plaque forms on the inner walls of the arteries resulting in blocking or narrowing) had progressed. LMH's strong relationship with the tertiary hospitals in Boston allowed us to immediately transfer Ron for a catheterization and ultimately, open heart surgery."

Working hard to recover through cardiac rehab

Recovery from open-heart surgery is a long process. When Ron was ready, the cardiac rehabilitation program at LMH was his next step. Three times a week for the next ten weeks, he met with nurse educators, nutritionists and exercise physiologists to learn about reducing cardiac risk factors, improving his diet, and the importance of regular exercise.

"The rehab program helped me make a full recovery and get back to my life and my family," Ron said. "I fully believe in our cardiac rehab program if a patient wants to make a full recovery," Dr. Samenuk said. "It's not unusual for me to join my patients running side-by-side on the treadmills."

Back to healthy living

"There's not much I can't do now," Ron said. "I enjoy spending time with my wife, three children and four grandchildren. I take one of my grandsons to school. I refinish furniture. I feel great."

Of Ron's journey, Dr. Samenuk said, "It was a challenging year for Ron. He has a strong sense of family. He's a fighter. Through the course of nearly a year, he used LMH's full cardiac service with a great result. Seeing him do well is what it's all about. We want Ron to see his grandchildren grow."

Ron now sees Dr. Samenuk only every 12 weeks and as much as he enjoyed spending time on the treadmill with him, Ron enjoys his time with his grandkids even more.

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