February 19, 2010

A Stent Saves Another Life

The city of Naperville had a scare last week, as Mayor George Pradel suffered a mild heart attack. But after a procedure to reopen his blocked arteries and a couple days of rest, the mayor is ready to get back to work at full speed.

For the mayor, he couldn’t get the weird feeling in his chest to go away.

“I drank a hot cup of coffee and had an Aspirin and some Tylenol,” said Pradel, “and (that feeling) just wouldn’t go away. So I said to (my wife) Pat, ‘you’ve got to take me over to Edward.’”

That decision is why Pradel is back at work just five days later. That, along with the two stents that were inserted into his blocked arteries to reopen them.

A stent is a man-made tube that is inserted into an artery and holds it open to help facilitate blood flow to the heart. The tubes are a large part of the evolution of heart surgeries over the past thirty-plus years.

Mayor Pradel came to the Edward Heart Hospital when he said he “just wasn’t feeling right.” Doctors say that can make the difference between coming in for a simpler procedure rather than coming in an ambulance, when it may be too late.

“I think part of it is that people are quote ‘too busy,’” said Dr. Mark Goodwin, Director of the Cardiac-Catheterization Lab at Edward Hospital. “They have time to take their car to Jiffy Lube but no time to see a doctor . . . Someone like Mayor Pradel comes in early (and) it’s a lot easier for us if they feel a change and a symptom. We can find out if everything is ok or we can do something to take care of it and get them back to their regular life.”

At Edward Hospital, a stent procedure is performed multiple times per day, but like any surgery for heart disease, it’s not a cure-all.

“If a person has a stent and seven years later they need another stent they say, ‘Oh, the stent didn’t work,’” said Dr. Goodwin. “That’s not true. The disease continues to progress.”

That’s why doctors like Goodwin preach on doing things to keep your heart healthy, especially after a stent procedure. Things like exercise, eating right and getting a good night’s sleep.

That’s what the mayor is trying to do now. And he’s sure about one thing. He’s glad he got his heart in shape earlier rather than later.

“Get it checked out, listen to your body,” said Pradel, “I did, and I’m glad I did it.”


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