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Ajit George – Cardiac Catheterzation Success Story

A wrong turn turned right

Ajit George has kept his promise to eat healthier and work out regularly after his heart attack nine months ago.

If you were having a heart attack, would you know it? An alarming number of people dismiss the warning signs. Fortunately, Ajit George wasn’t one of them.

Last October, while helping a friend move, Ajit George had shortness of breath. It concerned him enough to call his primary care provider to make an appointment. An electrocardiogram found nothing abnormal, but his doctor urged him to see a cardiologist.

Ajit George - Cardiac Cathererzation Sucess Story “I have another chance, and I want to take
advantage of it.”- Ajit George, heart attack patient

Ajit followed doctor’s orders and made an appointment, but it wasn’t for several weeks. Four days after the shortness of breath, Ajit was running errands when he had numbness and tingling in his left arm and broke out in a cold sweat.

Up until this point, he had done everything right. He had recognized the symptoms and followed up with his doctor, but then he took a wrong turn: Instead of pulling over and calling 911, Ajit drove himself to the emergency department (ED).

“I knew right where it was and I was nearby,” he says. Ajit admits it was not his best decision, because just as he arrived at the ED at Methodist Richardson Medical Center, he went into cardiac arrest.

Asad Mohmand, MD, interventional cardiologist on the hospital’s medical staff, was on call when Ajit arrived.

“I think he was very lucky, because his heart could have stopped while he was driving and it could have been the end — and not just for him but also for other drivers if there had been an accident,” Dr. Mohmand says.

A voice of comfort

Ajit was immediately transferred to the cardiac catheterization lab, where he went into cardiac arrest again, requiring Dr. Mohmand to shock his heart back to a normal rhythm. Although he was critically ill, Ajit remembers what happened.

“When I came to, I looked up and saw a bright light, and there was a man speaking to me in my native dialect,” he says. “I thought I had died and gone to heaven.” Ajit didn’t meet his maker that day, but he did meet the man who would save his life.

“I thought there was a good chance that he spoke Hindi, so I talked to him in that language,” Dr. Mohmand says. “Fortunately, he did, which helped calm him and put him at ease.”

To assess what was causing Ajit’s heart attack, Dr. Mohmand performed a procedure called cardiac catheterization, in which a catheter is threaded through the artery in the groin up to the heart. Dye is injected to see if there are blockages. In this case, Ajit had two blocked arteries.

The next step was angioplasty. This procedure also uses a catheter, but to thread a small deflated balloon to the blockage. The balloon is then inflated, pressing the plaque against the walls of the artery. A permanent tube or stent is put in place to restore blood flow.

Embracing his second chance

It’s been nine months since his heart attack, and Ajit has kept a promise to himself to live a healthier lifestyle so he can be there for his family. He follows up with Dr. Mohmand on a regular basis, and he’s eating better and working out.

“I have another chance, and I want to take advantage of it,” he says, adding that he now knows how important it is to call 911 if you have symptoms, because every minute matters.