In a medical emergency, you never know how serious it might be
James and his wife were shocked that he had suffered a heart attack at such a young age. He is not overweight, is active and had no family history of heart attack.
After a long holiday weekend, James Jeunelot hit the gym for a tough morning workout. As he went through his routine, he noticed some pain in his right shoulder while doing the bench press. At age 43, in good physical condition, he ignored the pain and kept going, determined to reach his goal.
“All of a sudden, I started sweating bullets,” James said. “But I thought it was just a normal result of the work out.”
By the third set, James was experiencing pain across his chest, so he cut the workout short and drove home. After showering and getting dressed, he was still perspiring heavily and experiencing pain on his right side.
“I could tell something was not right with James,” his wife, Crystal, explains.
“I started researching his symptoms — profuse sweating, chest and shoulder pain — and the results kept bringing up heart attack. Even though he
didn’t have all the symptoms, I knew something was wrong.”
James wanted to go to work, but after some encouragement, Crystal got him to agree to check his blood pressure. “It was 160 over 110. At that point, it was clear to both of us that he needed to get to Baptist South as soon as possible,” explained Crystal.
Baptist South’s ER is a nationally accredited Chest Pain Center, which means rapid cardiac diagnosis and intervention in the event of a heart attack.
“Fast action is critical in treating a heart attack. There is a very short period of
time before permanent heart damage occurs.” - Bharat Gummadi, MD, Baptist Heart Specialists
“In what seemed like about 30 seconds, I was already in an exam room with a team of medical people attending to me,” James said.
An electrocardiogram revealed James had a 100 percent blockage in his left anterior descending artery, so he was rushed to the cardiac cath lab for an emergency balloon angioplasty and a stent to keep the artery open.
“We were able to do this procedure in a minimally invasive way,” Dr. Gummadi explained. Baptist South’s Cath Lab, which opened in the fall of 2011, enables surgeons to go through an artery in the arm or groin to treat blockages in heart vessels.
Although James did not fit the usual profile for a heart attack, the event would have been fatal had he not received fast, lifesaving treatment. The type of heart attack that James had is called a “widow maker” because blockage to the main heart artery is usually fatal.
“We were able to perform the angioplasty just 41 minutes after James arrived at our emergency room,” explained Shane Dowdall, cardiac cath lab manager. This is far less than the American Heart Association’s guideline of 90 minutes.
James was able to return home just three days after his heart attack. He has modified his diet to one that is low in fat and salt, and now takes medication to regulate his blood pressure and cholesterol.
“My wife and I are so thankful for the excellent, fast emergency care I received from Baptist South. They saved my life.”