Heart disease can affect anyone — which is why it’s vital to know the warning signs
Greg Rednour woke up early one morning with severe heartburn. He thought he had just overeaten at a church dinner the night before. But little did Greg know, he was having a massive heart attack.
“I felt like I was getting stabbed in the heart,” Greg said. “I took some heartburn medication and it didn’t help. Then I started sweating profusely. I told my wife I needed to go to the emergency room.”
Greg’s main artery was 100% blocked – news that greatly surprised Greg, an active runner.
“I played basketball three nights before my heart attack and refereed a basketball game two nights before,” Greg said. “I had no idea things were so bad.”
Dr. David Talley and the Lourdes Cath Lab team first inserted a stent to open up Greg’s main artery. Then he placed a left heart Impella, a ventricular assist device, to allow Greg’s heart to heal.
“The longer the heart goes without blood and oxygen, the greater the damage to the heart muscle,” Dr. Talley, a Mercy Health cardiologist said. “From the time Mr. Rednour arrived in our ED to the time we had his artery opened was 47 minutes, well under the national benchmark of 90 minutes.”
Although Greg’s heart attack was unexpected, it’s important to know that heart disease can affect anyone — young or old, male or female. In fact high blood pressure is called the silent killer because it often has no signs or symptoms.
“Women’s symptoms are somewhat different than men’s,” says Brenda Milam, Nurse Manager at the Lourdes Cardiovascular Institute. “Their pain may be in their back, in their jaw or neck. They could also have crushing chest pain. The best advice is don’t ignore your symptoms.”
Greg admits he may have missed some warning signs and encourages others to listen to their bodies. He’s also grateful for the care he received while at Lourdes.
“I feel better than I have in years,” recalls Greg. “I can’t say enough good things about my care at Lourdes,” adds Greg. “Every staff person is so compassionate, it’s not just what they do; it’s who they are. They saved my life.”
If you’re interested in seeing a doctor to evaluate your heart health, find a Mercy Health physician near you today.