Dennis Schumacher didn’t realize he was having a heart attack. The 65-year-old Bellevue man recalls, “My chest hurt and I had pain in my left arm, but I’ve had that before and the pain always goes away. This time it didn’t. That’s when my wife pushed me into going to the hospital.”
Marie Schumacher drove her husband to Finley Hospital’s Emergency Room
—a decision that helped save his life. “They were waiting at the door for me,” says Dennis. “They hooked me up to a machine, told my wife I’d had a heart attack, and rushed me into surgery.”
In fact, it took just 24 minutes from the time Schumacher arrived at Finley until Dr. Tauseef Khan
and the cardiovascular team opened his blocked artery.
“Our experienced triage nurses assess patients as soon as they arrive,” explains Al Alhambra, Finley ER director. “When Dennis came in, the nurse saw at once we needed to move quickly. We put him on a monitor and performed an EKG within the first minute. Then we called the cardiac catheterization team right away.”
Finley’s new Flexsteel Cardiac Catheterization Lab
is part of the Heart and Vascular Center. In the Cath Lab, doctors diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks. If there is a blocked artery, cardiologists like Dr. Khan perform angioplasty—using a tiny balloon to widen a narrowed artery and implanting a stent to help the artery stay open.
The American Heart Association recommends a “door-to-balloon” time of 90 minutes or less from the patient’s arrival at the hospital until angioplasty is performed. “Our goal as a UnityPoint Health hospital is to achieve that in less than 60 minutes,” says Andrea Anglin, manager of cardiovascular services at Finley. “The faster we open the blockage, the sooner we get good blood flow restored, and that means less damage to the heart muscle.”
Anglin adds, “We have a well-orchestrated process between the ER and the Cath Lab. In Mr. Schumacher’s case, everything came together for us to open his blockage in 24 minutes.”
Both Anglin and Alhambra recommend people experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack call 911. Most ambulance services can perform an EKG and transmit the results to Finley. “It speeds up the process,” says Anglin. “The doctor reviews the results before the patient arrives. If it is a heart attack, the patient bypasses the ER and is taken directly to the Cath Lab.”
Dennis Schumacher learned his right artery was 100% blocked when he arrived in the Finley ER. After an overnight stay, he returned home. Since then he’s had a second angioplasty to open an artery that was partially blocked, and followed that up with Finley Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation
“Except for actually having a heart attack, it was a very good experience,” says Schumacher with a smile. “The doctors and nurses were great. I definitely recommend Finley Hospital.”