Diagnosis: Heart Attack
Treatment: Balloon Angioplasty
Not only was Jim Maguire still walking around, he was back at his construction job just a couple of months after a massive heart attack.
It was a heart attack he didn’t realize he was having until it was almost too late.
“I thought the pain was an esophagus thing,” Jim recalls, “so I took a pill and it seemed to get better.”
But the next day, the pain was more severe. He knew it was time to go to the hospital.
That decision saved his life.
“When someone is having a heart attack, part of the heart is starving for blood and beginning to die,” explains cardiologist Dr. Harry Yu of EvergreenHealth Heart Care. “So as the minutes tick off, the more heart tissue can be irreversibly damaged.”
When minutes count, only the highly coordinated effort of a skilled team of paramedics, technicians, nurses, emergency room physicians and cardiologists can provide the best care for heart attacks.
Fortunately for Jim, EvergreenHealth is a national leader in quick diagnosis and treatment of heart attack.
When he arrived at the Emergency Department, Dr. Yu and the cardiac team were ready to start treatment.
Maguire needed balloon angioplasty – a high-tech procedure that opens up blocked arteries with a rapidly-inflated balloon.
But just as critical as the treatment is how quickly it can be performed. It’s called “door-to-balloon” time – the amount of time from the patient’s arrival to when the artery is opened.
While the national target is 90 minutes or less, EvergreenHealth’s dedicated team approach is resulting in an average door-to-balloon time of 65 minutes.
But it’s not just about being fast. Equally important, Dr. Yu stresses, is being thorough. “We’re not just rushing patients through – we’re assessing them every step of the way and making sure they are being cared for in the best possible manner.”
The balloon angioplasty that saved Jim's life isn’t reserved just for patients in life-or-death situations. It’s also a valuable tool for opening clogged arteries before a heart attack strikes.
It’s a procedure that EvergreenHealth’s highly skilled cardiologists are able to perform on the spot, to prevent future, and perhaps irreversible, damage to the heart.
“The ultimate goal,” Dr. Yu shares, “is to provide the best-quality care to that patient coming in the door.”
That level of care is something that patients like Jim Maguire can appreciate.
“It was a harrowing experience to have, but a good one,” he admits. “I got called to take part in a patient satisfaction survey, and I told them everything was awesome. They said, ‘Does that mean excellent?’ and I said, 'No. Awesome is way better than excellent.’”