Keeping the BEAT

An active mom, wife and executive recruiter with several triathlons under her belt, 57-year-old Kim Reid hardly fit the profile for the victim of a massive heart attack. When minutes mattered, the expert team at CHI St. Joseph Health AirMed was there.

 

Shortly after her mother passed away, Reid was cycling with her triathlon group when the unimaginable happened. Her group has traveled from Montgomery to the small cities of Richards and Anderson in Grimes County, when Reid told a couple fellow cyclists to go ahead of her while she slowed to follow them. That was the last thing Reid remembered.
“One of my friends behind me said I just got slower and slower on the bike and then just fell over,” Reid said. “Then she said I sat up, said ‘so dizzy’ and fell over. I don’t remember any of this.”
Reid’s fellow cyclists found she didn’t have a pulse, and they began CPR.
Reid’s survival of the massive heart attack, commonly referred to as a “widow-maker” because it involved a 99-percent blockage of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, a main artery feeding the heart, was nothing short of a miracle, she says. A fellow cyclist and EMT with a defibrillator and the sheriffs of both small towns immediately came to her aid, and the CHI St. Joseph Health AirMed team happened to be in the air nearby when they received the 911 call.

EXPERT CARE WHEN PATIENTS NEED IT MOST
At CHI St. Joseph Health, patients have access to a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and specialists skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions, including heart valve disease, coronary artery disease, heart failure and heart rhythm disorders.
Fernando Colato, M.D., an interventional cardiologist with Central Texas Heart Center, PLCC, said it isn’t common for patients like Reid–with low cholesterol, a consistent exercise regimen and a healthy diet–to experience cardiac issues. The kind of cardiac event Reid experienced, ventricular tachycardia, often doesn’t exhibit any signs or symptoms beforehand.
“But really this can happen to anyone,” Dr. Colato said. “That’s why it’s so important for patients not to ignore their heart or their symptoms.”
Symptoms of heart problems sometimes present differently in women than they do in men. While male patients usually notice chest tightness, shortness of breath or chest pain, symptoms for women can be less specific, according to Dr. Colato. With any cardiac symptoms, it’s important to seek care immediately.
For Reid, a combination of prepared cycling buddies, skilled emergency care and ongoing care from the team of cardiology experts at CHI St. Joseph Health were instrumental to her recovery. Within a day of admission to CHI St. Joseph Health, she received a stent in her LAD artery. A stent is a tube made of metal mesh designed to keep the artery open.
These days, Reid, a Houstonian, still travels to see her Bryan cardiologist while continuing her triathlon training. Rather than training to win, she now focuses on training to finish.
“She should be able to get back to where she used to be,” Dr. Colato said. “Often we ask our patients to consider cardiac rehab, where they are asked to begin exercising slowly as they’re monitored.”

HEART RISK PREVENTION AND SCREENING
Heart diagnosis tests are an important part of determining whether a heart attack has occurred, if damage has occurred to the heart muscle and whether coronary artery disease is present.
According to Dr. Colato, consistent testing and diagnostics are vital to developing an effective treatment plan.
“Diagnostic tests can be important for determining whether you’ve had a heart attack, the extent of any damage to the heart muscle and whether you have coronary artery disease,” Dr. Colato said.
CHI St. Joseph Health offers a variety of noninvasive diagnostics, such as imaging and injection of a contrast agent, and invasive procedures involving insertion of a tube, device or scope.

Think you might be a candidate for heart risk prevention and screening? Find more information at CHIStJoseph.org/heart-care.