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    Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute

    Jean - New Device Offers Piece-of-Mind

    Jean -
    Jean - New Device Offers Piece-of-Mind

    Jean has always considered herself pretty lucky.  Having had bypass surgery  at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento more than 19 years ago and never having another cardiac incident since is considered a medical phenomenon.

    So, when Jean started feeling chest pain about 3 months ago, she brushed it off.  “I didn’t really think anything of it,” Jean said.  “Not until my son dragged me to the emergency department at Sutter Memorial Hospital after my physician noticed some changes in my EKG and suggested I go there for evaluation.”

    In the emergency department, Jean was diagnosed with unstable angina, a condition where the heart doesn’t get enough blood flow and oxygen which could lead up to a heart attack.  While she was hospitalized Jean had a nuclear myocardial perfusion scan, a non-invasive stress test that studies the blood flow to the heart during stress and at rest, to discover what was causing her unstable angina.  The test showed a lack of blood flow to an area of her heart.  She was then scheduled for a heart catheterization which was performed by Sutter Medical Group cardiologist, Zi Jian Xu, M.D., to determine the exact location of the blockage.  The blockage, located in Jean’s right coronary artery was stented by David Roberts, M.D., interventional cardiologist with Sutter Medical Group.  

    When Jean was released from the hospital, she followed up with her cardiologist, Dr. Xu.  It was during this appointment that Jean was informed she might be a good candidate for a new research study being done by Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute Research Clinic called the ALERTS study.

    The study is investigating the AngelMed Guardian System, an implantable device that monitors a participant’s heart 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The Guardian looks for changes that may indicate the heart is not getting enough oxygen and that a heart attack may be imminent.  If the device detects a possible heart attack, it will vibrate and send a signal to a pager device that will provide a flashing light and audible beep warning to “alert” the participant to call 911 immediately.  The device will also notify the participant of situations which are not emergencies but require medical follow-up with the study cardiologist.

    Jean discussed this option with her sons and decided to be part of the study.  “It just made sense,” she said.  “After brushing off my pain before because I wasn’t sure if it was serious or not, it seemed logical to have a device that tells me what to do.”

    Now months after her surgery Jean is back to her active lifestyle, but this time with a bit of piece-of-mind, “there is no more guessing what I should do,” she said.  The device has been working great and Jean has not had to experience the device in action, and hopes she never will. 

    Being a participant in the study, Jean has regular appointments with the Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute Research team to track her progress and answer any questions she might have. This extra care, which she normally wouldn’t have received without the study, proved to be a lifesaving benefit for Jean.  During one of her appointments, Dr. Xu noticed something wasn’t right and diagnosed her with coronary artery disease (carotid artery stenosis). 

    Jean was then sent for an angiogram to determine the percentage of carotid artery stenosis enabling Dr. Roberts to discover that one of her stents was blocked.  She was restented to correct the blocked stent and then received a carotid endarterectomy a month later to correct the carotid artery stenosis.

    Now Jean truly feels she is on the road to recovery and has her Sutter team of specialists to thank. “They are wonderful, all of them,” Jean says of her Sutter Team. “They were wonderful 19 years ago and are still wonderful now.   As far as my sons are concerned Sutter is the only place to go for cardiac care.”

     

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