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January 8, 2013

CVPH employee survives massive heart attack

(Continued)

“I knew something was wrong,” she said. “Once I go (to the ER), I knew I’d have no more control.”

But her co-workers insisted, and she entered the ER around 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Test results confirmed what she had suspected all along: She had as many as six major blockages in arteries leading to her heart, several with more than 90 percent blockage.

Doctors at first contemplated bypass surgery but opted on placing four stents in the blocked vessels to restore blood flow and strengthen the vessels.

“I still had two blockages, but they decided to treat that with medication,” she said.

‘WOULD HAVE CODED’

Her condition, which steadily progressed over the weekend, had reached its zenith, and Monica’s life was severely in danger by the time she agreed to go to the ER.

“Dr. (Timothy) Garrand (an interventional cardiologist at CVPH) told me I would have coded in the ambulance if they had transported me (from outside the hospital),” she said. “I was having a major heart attack; I’m glad the Cardiac Cath Lab was here.”

Monica had worked with many people suffering heart attacks while she was assigned to the ER, but now she says she can empathize with those who are going through what she experienced.

NO PREVIOUS SYMPTOMS

At 49, active and with no weight problems, Monica was not an ideal candidate for a heart attack. She quit smoking cigarettes in 2000 but began smoking cigars a few years later, a habit she admittedly will not return to.

“I had no family history of heart disease, no problems leading up to that weekend,” she said. “Everything seemed fine. I had no symptoms at all.”

Women will often present with vastly different symptoms of heart attacks than the commonly thought of severe chest pain that men usually experience. That is why women have to be especially conscious of changes they notice and take action when those changes first occur.

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