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Ed Woyewodzic – Heart Attack Success Story

A record-breaking heart rescue – the hospital's fastest to date and 72 minutes ahead of the national goal of 90 minutes

undefinedFrom the winter 2011 edition of Shine magazine

"As a rule, I don't have heart attacks," Ed Woyewodzic jokes with a big smile. "But when I do, I call Methodist Richardson Medical Center."

This spring, Woyewodzic had a heart attack, and only 43 minutes later a balloon was inflated in his blocked artery, restoring blood flow to his heart and saving his life.

12:20 p.m. – Chest pain begins

The day of the attack, Woyewodzic was enjoying landscaping in his yard. After taking a break for lunch, he felt intense pain in his chest.

"If you've had indigestion, it was 100 times worse than that," he says. After grabbing a bottle of water and taking two aspirin, he called his wife, Carla, who called 911. That was at 12:27 p.m.

12:33 p.m. – The fire department arrives on scene

Woyewodzic was sitting on his curb when the first responders, the Richardson Fire Department, arrived. The firefighters began treating him immediately.

"They were communicating with me the entire time, which put me at ease," Woyewodzic says. En route to Methodist Richardson, paramedics completed an echocardiogram, which revealed that Woyewodzic was experiencing an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) – total blockage of an artery in the heart. The paramedics notified the hospital's emergency department to prepare the cardiac catheterization lab.

12:42 p.m.Arrival at Methodist Richardson

undefinedNhan Nguyen, MD, an independently practicing interventional cardiologist and chief of staff at Methodist Richardson, was waiting outside the emergency department doors when Woyewodzic arrived.

Woyewodzic recalls Dr. Nguyen introducing himself and then rushing him down the hall along with the rest of the medical team.

"The paramedics were there, and a lady was praying over me," he says. "It was amazing to see how they all worked together. Wow, it was so fast."

1:03 p.m. – Cardiac catheterization complete

From when Woyewodzic passed through the emergency department doors to when Dr. Nguyen placed the balloon in his blocked artery, the total time was 18 minutes – among the hospital's fastest door-to-balloon time and 72 minutes ahead of the national goal of 90 minutes.

"I remember the staff shouting with joy, '18 minutes!' and I celebrated with them," Woyewodzic says with laughter.

Cardiac catheterization involves inserting a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel and threading it to the heart.

"In Mr. Woyewodzic's case, we used a balloon catheter, which opens the blocked artery and allows for a greater amount of oxygenated blood to flow to the heart," Dr. Nguyen says. "Time is muscle, and each minute we let pass by is time of reduced blood flow to the heart."

Living life to the fullest

Six weeks after the heart attack, Woyewodzic was out working in his yard again.

"One hundred ten degrees didn't bother me one bit," he says. "I'm actually a lot better than I was before the attack." He has lost almost 20 pounds, walks every day, and enjoys eating healthy.

"This was a good thing that happened to me, and I thank Dr. Nguyen, Methodist Richardson, and Richardson emergency medical services for working together to save my life."

Read and watch how Woyewodzic's heart attack survival story from Shine magazine played a huge part in saving another Richardson, Texas heart attack patient's life.