Patient Story – Cardiac Catheterization

“They showed me photos of the blocked artery, and photos with all of the arteries open after the procedure. I was able to go home the next day and I felt great.”

Cardiology-patient_Mike-Coconis400.jpgMike is a 68-year-old father and husband. A resident of Raymond, NH for over 33 years Mike enjoys an active lifestyle of tennis, skiing, surfing, golf and most importantly being a husband to wife Cathy and a father to his daughter Sarah.

In December of 2017, Mike was feeling pressure in his chest and shoulders and although he wasn’t sure if it was heart related and at the persistent urging from his wife Cathy, they called an ambulance. That decision may have saved his life. In the ambulance, emergency medical providers did an EKG and sent it along to Exeter Hospital before they arrived.

Upon arrival at the ER Mike was swiftly transferred to the waiting team of nurses, technicians, and doctors including Dr. Brian Porter of Core Cardiology. Dr. Porter monitored him closely as his situation was a little complicated. Mike already had an ascending aortic aneurysm, and Dr. Porter needed to determine if that was the source of the pain, or if it was a heart attack.

“I felt that I was in very capable hands,” said Mike. “The staff was knowledgeable and caring, and made sure I understood what was happening.”

Once Dr. Porter saw that his cardiac protein levels were rising, he determined it was indeed a heart attack and suggested heart catheterization. Mike requested a transfer to Catholic Medical Center (CMC), as he had heard they were known for their treatment of heart attacks. When Exeter Hospital staff reached out to CMC, they learned that they were backed up with a high number of patients and wouldn’t be able to accept Mike until a bed was available which could be in an hour or a day. As Mike’s cardiac protein levels had now risen from 0.2 to 16, Dr. Porter suggested he reconsider having the procedure at Exeter Hospital, as time was critical. Dr. Porter explained in more detail the extensive experience that Exeter Hospital has with heart catheterization, and took the time to look up recent outcome data to share. In particular, Exeter Hospital is in the top 10% of hospitals in the country for low death rates after coronary stent procedures.

Mike decided to have the cardiac catheterization at Exeter Hospital and the procedure went well. “It turns out that one of my coronary arteries was 100% blocked,” Mike said. “In the short time between when I agreed to have the procedure here and when I went into the cath lab, my cardiac protein levels had risen to 200! I probably wouldn’t have made it if I had been transferred to CMC. They showed me photos of the blocked artery, and photos with all of the arteries open after the procedure. I was able to go home the next day and I felt great.”

“Mike had a really good outcome, and the strength of his heart muscle was preserved,” said Dr. Porter. “He followed up with cardiac rehab and has continued to do very well.”