Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute
Tony - Heart Failure Doesn't Mean Your Life is Over
About 10 years ago Tony had his first episode. He and his wife, Mary, were at their church's crab feed enjoying the good food and company when he collapsed.
"I started feeling very sick, like I was going to throw up," Tony said, "then I felt faint and collapsed."
Luckily there was a group of EMT's at the event who were able to help and get him to the hospital. After Tony was stabilized he met with his cardiologist who diagnosed him with heart failure.
"My cardiologist at the time fitted me with the first of several pacemakers I have received during my heart failure care," he said.
A few years after the incident Tony's primary care physician moved out of state and gave him a referral to Sutter's Advanced Heart Therapy Services located at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, where Tony and his wife could learn how to successfully live a fulfilled life with heart failure.
Tony has had two more pacemakers placed since the first, the second in 2006 and the third in 2008. His latest pacemaker was a significant upgrade from the others and features an implantable defibrillator. The defibrillator monitors the rhythm of the heart and if the heart has a arrhythmia that is not life sustaining it will shock the heart back to normal.
A Clinical Nurse Specialist and heart failure coordinator for Sutter, Julie Chester-Wood, is pleased by Tony's success. "Tony's story is amazing because he has been successfully living with heart failure for over 10 years," she said. "50-60 percent of patients diagnosed with heart failure don't live more than 5 years. But with proper treatment, education and therapies patients live longer with a better quality of life."
Sutter Advanced Heart Therapy Service's helps patients like Tony everyday. The program has been extremely successful helping patients and their families cope and live with this disease.
"Our patients work with a team of physicians, nurses and dieticians to learn how to manage their disease," Julie said. "With a low sodium diet, early symptom identification, evidence based therapies, exercise and education they learn how to monitor their condition and control risk factors. They also have fewer hospitalizations."
With the help and treatment he has received at Sutter, Tony has more energy and is doing more and more everyday. He is taking up his old hobbies again like model airplanes and computers.
"Sutter has been so good and accommodating," Tony said. "There isn't a time I have sought help and didn't get it. I give Sutter 10 out of 10, maybe even an 11."
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