below of heart attack & treatment; status
after year, 3 years,
5 years, 7 years, 10 years
Overview of Diane's
On Jan 11, 2008 Diane had an acute
infarction - 70% blockage of
coronary artery - from a blood clot formed from eruption of lipids
plaque rupture (see
video). The duration of heart muscle oxygen deficiency was reduced
by >30 minutes by receiving half the FDA dose of clot-busting
Retavase in ambulance vs. in the hospital, part of a UT
This artery had
experienced uncommon separation (dissection) of the interior flow area
from the artery wall, that caused blood to flow down a newly created
"false plenum" which had the effect of partially collapsing the "true
plenum". This artery now has only 10% stenosis after being fully reinforced with
SEVEN expanding mesh titanium stents. These
Liberté-brand stents by Boston Scientific were positioned to allow
all the smaller arterioles to still feed oxygenated blood to the right
ventricle. (Note her two other coronary arteries displayed no problems)
Read detailed chronicle below of heart attack, treatment,
monitoring & rehabilitation for a month.
The afternoon of Jan 11, 2008 Diane was at
Church of the Redeemer with Dick Bird, getting music ready for a new
Friday night service. Suddenly she felt sharp pain spread to her jaw and
left arm so Dick called "911". Our Rector Rev. Nan Doerr was already on
her way over to church and saw two ambulances go by, and got there in
time to help EMS gain access into the building.
The Emergency Room's
were full at St. Joseph's, St. Luke's and Methodist hospitals.
Hermann has a new process that gets patients directly to
Cardiac Catheterization Lab, bypassing their ER procedures. EMS crew
immediately began treatment while Diane was being transported. They
did not wait for any of the required health insurance forms to be filled
out - support staff arranged for all the forms for patient
"Yankee1229" (her hospital code name for the first 24 hours)
to be bought to Bob when he arrived!
UT Med School
over several hours used
invasive procedures that started out with a coronary
live X-ray images captured on digital video which shows arteries using
radio-opaque contrast injected, followed by a catheter inserted through
a groin incision in the
This first catheter procedure used a live video camera which is how Dr.
Ali Denktas discovered the extent of the problems in the right
coronary artery. The team did the stent placements guided by the live
imagery. Early evening she was transferred upstairs to the CCU of their
Vascular Institute. Bob stayed in the CCU for several hours filling
out detailed medical history required, then slept in the waiting room.
12 Jan 2008
In the early morning hours a Resident removed the heart catheter
which had been preventatively left in, as a precaution after the
procedure. Later that morning a full
was done of her heart -from four angles - to look if any areas of heart
muscle were not fully responsive to the electrical rhythm of the heart.
She will get an initial opinion on Sunday, but the doctor warned it
might be six months before they fully know if the MI caused any
permanent damage, comparing the enzymes and heart function. Diane has
EKGs performed several
times per day. If all is still well Sunday, she will transfer to an
intermediate cardiac care room.
The doctor advised she can resume her job
within a week, which doesn't involve lifting more than 5 lbs. While in
hospital she is on
Lipitor, Plavix and
Sunday 13 Jan 2008
Her doctor reported no problems with any of the diagnostics they
had performed, and only made adjustments to some of her intravenous
medication. He used the phrase "perfect" and teased why wasn't she in
her chair (because it was too low compared to the bed). The "markers"
in her blood that occur after an MI were coming down as expected, so he
arranged for her transfer to Rehab, which will start Monday Jan 14. She
was moved to Room 352 of
Monday 14 Jan 2008
Diane begin doing in-hospital rehab walking exercises, but was not able
to do closed cardiac MRI - and there is no open MRI for hearts. Diane was
referred for out-patient Phase II cardiac rehab near our home, at
Hermann South-East. She was given full details of the Retavase trial
agreed to on Friday, with phone call follow-up to occur monthly for a
15 Jan 2008
She was discharged after lunch, received a written report of the
cath. lab procedure, prescription for medicines with literature on each,
and written advice about diet and lifestyle. Bob signed her up for
Clear Lake Community Ass'n
low-impact aquatic exercise classes Tues/Thurs 8-9 am for her knee
health and weight loss, and got map directions to her twice-weekly
Saturday 19 Jan 2008
Diane has stayed home this week, getting up each day, and doing
small things around the house (making tea, feeding dogs, washing dishes)
and looking forward to being driven to church Sunday.
Sunday 20 Jan 2008
She sat in the congregation, joining in the hymns and prayers, staying
afterward for the annual parish meeting and lunch before going
home for a nap. She and Bob have decided to switch to evening aquatic
exercise on Tues and Thurs so they both can do it, once she is cleared
to do exercise other than supervised cardio.
Friday 25 Jan 2008
Diane's sister Joanne drove her to cardio rehab where she worked out on
the recumbent bike. Her next appointment with her cardiologist is
January 29, to get cleared for driving.
Thursday 31 Jan 2008
Had a follow-up appointment with her catheterization doctor, who
has cleared her to drive and go back to work. She's working two
days/week from 10 am to 2 pm, i.e. half as many days as before.
Status at Three Months
Diane was in cardio rehab three times per week; back at her
Admin. Asst. job at church Monday, Tuesdays & Thursdays, and taking part
in prayer group and church on the weekend. She has a Schwinn recumbent exercise bike
and upper-body tabletop machine to do rehab at home.
Status After One Year
Diane chose to step back from working 20+ hours per week in the Church of the Redeemer
office. She still composes the Sunday bulletin from home using Publisher, and she also sets
the weekly service music to fit on half-page using Sibelius. She is enjoying driving our
five-year old grandson Brian to and from school, and taking her elderly aunts lunch each week.
Status After Three
We live in Dubai with excellent health care, great insurance. Her
American Hospital says her health is excellent, blood pressure
slightly below normal, not a sign of problems!
Status After Five
Back in Houston, arriving after political party
election debates, which included
Conservative policies about under-insured. There's apparently a "Texas
High-Risk Pool" for pre-existing conditions, but accessing it has
been rather daunting for Diane. She found herself in multiple websites
and/or (800) phone hell: (dial 1 for ...) never getting to an actual
human being! Apparently there are physical offices we can go to, but
they're NOT listed on their website.
Status After Seven Years
On 28 June 2012 the
US Supreme Court upheld the PPACA Patient Protection and Affordable Care
("ObamaCare") Act passed in 2010, which stops patients from being denied
coverage from a pre-existing condition. Diane has since been able to get all
of the medical care she needs through conventional insurance, although had
to wait until employer coverage improved in April 2013.
Status After Ten Years
Diane is on Medicare Advantage, with great care through Kelsey-Seybold clinics, with a designated primary care physician and an experienced cardiology specialist.