Know the Warning Signs
Doctors say if you experience the following, Don't wait — call 9-1-1:
Crushing, intense chest pain
Persistent discomfort in the chest or upper abdomen
Persistent numbness, dull ache, or unexplained pain in the neck, back or left side
Shortness of breath
Nausea or vomiting
A healthier James Krupp returns to work in Affton after suffering a heart attack.
James Krupp was at Kerry Ingredients and Flavours in Affton with what he thought was a bad case of heartburn. “It began earlier in the morning and came and went, so I didn't think anything of it,” Krupp says. But as he talked with employees on the production lines, the pain increased. “It felt like heartburn, but 100 times worse than how I felt that morning,” he says. Worried, Krupp finally drove himself to St. Anthony's Medical Center. Rapid testing confirmed he had suffered a heart attack.
Krupp was Lucky
“He was lucky because the risks of waiting include a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia, congestive heart failure or a subsequent heart attack,” says board-certified cardiologist Dennis Disch, MD. “In fact, one-third of patients don't make it to the ER because they have a fatal heart arrhythmia (an erratic, uncontrolled heart beat) before they even get here.”
Dr. Disch ordered a radial artery cardiac catheterization, a procedure performed by his colleague, David Dobmeyer, MD, in which a catheter is snaked through the radial (wrist) artery to the heart. Only a handful of doctors in the region regularly do this type of catheterization, which is more comfortable and safer for patients.
The procedure revealed that a branch of one of Krupp's heart arteries was clogged. Dr. Dobmeyer cleared the blockage and implanted a mesh stent inside the artery to keep it open. Krupp was then referred to St. Anthony's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, a medically monitored program that helps patients regain strength through exercise, while also learning healthy lifestyle habits, such as good nutrition and stress management.
Five months since his heart attack, Krupp, the father of five, had a lot to look forward to this summer. “My oldest daughter got married, my other daughter graduated from nursing school and my son graduated from high school.”
“I think about how close I came to missing all of that,” he says softly, shaking his head. “How lucky I am that I'm still here, to have been a part of all that.”
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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