Heart attack care close to home
Wade woke up in the middle of the night thinking he had heartburn. He took some antacid and went back to bed. But when we awoke again an hour later — this time with pain in his left arm — he knew from experience that he better get to the emergency room.
Wade is no stranger to issues of the heart. His dad had a heart attack when he was 50 years old, had six bypass surgeries, and passed away of congestive heart failure. He had a brother die of congestive heart failure and another brother who is still alive and also has heart issues. And his mother died of a stroke.
“I decided 20 years ago to make some changes in my health that would hopefully help me beat my genetics," Wade says. Back then he was 260 pounds. He dropped about 85 pounds and has kept it off ever since.
Wade knew the signs of heart attack. While the pain he woke up with in his arm wasn't debilitating, it was enough to make him wake up his adult daughter around 2:00am to take him to the emergency room at Brigham City Community Hospital.
“When we got to the ER, they got me in immediately. The doctor and nurses were great. They calmed me down, took my blood quickly, and got me an EKG test.”
Brigham City Community Hospital has earned the American College of Cardiology's Chest Pain Center accreditation for having the highest standards of heart attack care.
Dr. Travis Torman was the ER physician on duty that night. He gave Wade some medications to increase blood flow, reduce blood pressure, and thin his blood. This array of remedies was used immediately to stabilize Wade's heart rate and blood pressure.
In addition, Brigham City Community Hospital employs high-sensitivity troponin testing. In non-medical language, this is an advanced cardiac test that is able to quickly and efficiently detect heart muscle that has died, signaling that a heart attack has occurred or is occurring.
“Wade came in with typical cardiac symptoms and was seen right away by our team, all of whom are Board certified and well trained in cardiac care. Thanks to our high-sensitivity cardiac troponin test we were able to very quickly detect high levels of troponin, which led to a diagnosis of heart disease.”
Dr. Torman then arranged transport to our sister facility Ogden Regional Medical Center — the closest facility with a cardiac catheterization lab — so that the patient could undergo additional treatment.
Although the patient needed to be transferred to a different facility, Dr. Torman reminds us that getting initial treatment at the closest hospital is vital when having a cardiac event.
“Every hospital follows a similar protocol of first treating the patient with stabilizing medications before any surgery is even considered, and it's vital that a person starts on those medications as fast as possible — even if the patient ultimately has to be transferred for further care,” says Dr. Torman. “Driving to a hospital farther away delays that treatment and could make the difference between life and death.”
When Wade arrived at Ogden Regional Medical Center he received another high-sensitivity troponin test, which showed that his troponin levels had increased even more. He was taken back immediately and had an angioplasty — a procedure performed to open blocked coronary arteries — as well as two stents to help keep the artery open.
“Had he not first come to Brigham City Community Hospital, his outcome could have been a lot worse. We were able to get him stabilized nearly immediately after he arrived,” says Dr. Torman.
Now, just a few short months later, Wade is looking and feeling excellent. He has completed a regimen of cardiac rehabilitation, which he did twice per week at Brigham City Community Hospital for about two months.
Fun fact — Wade and his wife spent their career in the Box Elder School District with Wade as a principal and his wife as a teacher. And all three of his cardiac rehab nurses were in his wife's class, and one of them also went to a school he was principal at.
"The whole experience couldn't have gone better," Wade says. "I'm grateful for the care I received at Brigham City Community Hospital."