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    Larry - Breakthrough Technology Saved my Life

    Larry -
    Larry - Breakthrough Technology Saved my Life

    Unlike most heart attack patients, Larry, an attorney/arbitrator, had no symptoms leading up to his massive heart attacks last December. 

    “I have always lived a very healthy lifestyle,” he said. “I eat a low fat diet, I don’t smoke, my cholesterol is fine and I am not overweight.”

    He never would have guessed that on his way to the Bay Area for an arbitration hearing, his life would change drastically.

    On Dec. 9, 2008, Larry left his home in Sacramento, and he wasn’t feeling so great.  About two miles out, he started having horrible chest pain and was sweating profusely.

    “It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest,” he recalled. 

    He called his wife, Anita and told her his symptoms; she advised him to pull over and call 911, but Larry decided to drive home. 

    When he arrived home, Anita was upset; she gave him an aspirin and called his primary care doctor who told them to go to the emergency room.  Anita drove him to the emergency room.  When he arrived to the emergency room at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, clinicians quickly diagnosed him with a heart condition.

    “The emergency room was excellent,” he said. “I didn’t have to wait one minute.”

    Larry was immediately scheduled to undergo an angioplasty the next morning, but before he could make it to the operating room, Larry suffered the first of two massive heart attacks. Quickly, he was rushed to the OR for open-heart surgery, where cardiac surgeon Robert Kincade, M.D., was able to perform a triple-bypass with the help of a new device known as the Impella®.

    The Impella® is an extremely small heart-pump that allows patients to undergo strenuous procedures that they normally couldn’t have due to the severity of their condition. Because of this device, Larry was able to have the bypass surgery he desperately needed to save his life.

    Larry’s condition was precarious for the next week. ”I don’t remember anything after my first attack,” he said, “but my wife said I was touch-and-go for the first four days.” 

    After his strenuous procedure, Larry spent nine days in the ICU and then spent the rest of his time in the cardiac wing at Sutter Memorial Hospital. Due to the seriousness of his condition, Larry spent 20 days in the hospital before he was allowed to go home.

    Life took a little getting used to when he first arrived home. He had home-based care with nurses visiting regularly and physical therapy. In mid-February, his cardiologists, Daniel Van Hamersveld, M.D., and Dr. Michael Fugit, M.D., authorized him for 36 sessions at the cardiac rehabilitation center located in Sacramento. There, Larry has continued his physical therapy in a controlled environment. 

    “The exercise program is very well run,” Larry said. “They monitor me with a Holter monitor, and if a problem occurs they can catch it before it progresses. With the hospital right next door, you know you are being well taken care of.”

    The road to recovery has not been easy, but Larry has begun to get back into his old routine. Given the OK from his cardiologists, he has started driving and is back to work part-time. In six months he should regain most of his strength. 

    “Looking back at how seriously ill I was, I never would have driven home when I first started feeling chest pains,” Larry said. “Before this all happened, I didn’t have any symptoms and never thought I’d have a heart attack.”


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