Michael Ogden

Methodist Stopped His Heart Attack In Its Tracks

Mike's Story: Heart attacks aren't just a concern for older adults. Here's the story of 45-year-old Michael Ogden and why he's grateful for the Cardiac Alert program at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.

Michael had just returned to his West Des Moines home after putting his snow blower in storage when he felt the first twinges of chest pain. Sharp pains shot up into his neck and ears as he closed his truck door and went inside.

"I thought it would go away, so I took three baby aspirin and lay down on the couch," says Michael. "I called 911 when the pain didn't subside. I asked the dispatcher to stay on the line with me because I knew I was having a heart attack."

Michael placed his call to 911 at 2:59 p.m. Help arrived at 3:04 p.m.

"Michael did the right thing by calling 911," says John Woutat, assistant chief of emergency medical services (EMS) for the city of West Des Moines. "We immediately began monitoring his condition and administering medication. We also called Iowa Methodist to let them know we were bringing in a patient with a severe heart attack."

15 Minutes That Saved Michael's Life

At 3:26 p.m., Michael arrived at Iowa Methodist, and in less than 15 minutes he had undergone angioplasty to insert a balloon in his clogged artery.

Today, Michael is grateful to be enjoying life with his wife and three children.

"My physician said I had a 'widow-maker,' meaning that one of the arteries in my heart was 100 percent blocked," says Michael. "He also told me that I had about 15 minutes left to live when I arrived at the hospital. I can't say thank you enough for the fast action of West Des Moines EMS and the physicians and nurses at Iowa Methodist. They truly saved my life."

Caring for Cardiac Emergencies

At UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, we care about patients like Michael and strive to provide the highest level of quality heart and vascular care. That's why we've recently developed and introduced the Cardiac Alert program that efficiently and effectively treats patients who are experiencing a heart attack.

"The program begins when the patient dials 911," says Les Smiarowski, MBA, executive director of cardiovascular services at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. "As soon as EMS is on site, they call and alert us that they're bringing in a cardiac patient."

This call begins a series of preparations at the hospital, including gathering a team of emergency professionals, reviewing the patient's electrocardiogram (EKG) and preparing the cardiac catheterization lab, so that we're ready to begin immediately caring for the patient on arrival to the hospital. These processes often allow us to meet or exceed the recommended benchmark of 90 minutes (established by the American College of Cardiology) to deliver heart care upon arrival to the emergency department. In Michael's case, his treatment was completed in less than 15 minutes.

"We're proud of the care we were able to provide Michael," says Smiarowski. "We understand that speed and accuracy are essential lifesaving tools when it comes to caring for a heart attack. With the Cardiac Alert program in place, we offer both speed and accuracy to residents of Central Iowa."

Learn Your Risk!

For more information about the Cardiac Alert program at Iowa Methodist, call (515) 241-8064 or visit the cardiovascular services section on our website. If you or a loved one is experiencing a life-threatening emergency such as a heart attack, call 911 immediately.