Bill’s Story: Out of the Woods

Melvin “Bill” Beck was getting ready for another hunting season when discomfort in his chest stopped him in his own tracks. “I knew something was wrong and it wasn’t the AFib. I asked my wife to drive me to the hospital,” Bill recalls of the hot and humid late August morning.

When Bill and Ruthann Beck of Ludlow Falls arrived at the Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) emergency department, he briefly told staff what was happening. “Just like that, they wheeled me up and started monitoring me,” he says.

When Bill arrived at UVMC and described his symptoms, a troponin test was performed to determine whether he had experienced a heart attack.

Although the test didn’t indicate a heart attack or damage, Bill was placed under observation for 24 hours.

“When a second test showed higher numbers indicating a possible problem, coupled with Bill’s description of his discomfort, a cardiac catherization was scheduled to get a closer look at the coronary arteries,” says  Aaron Kaibas, DO, of Premier Cardiovascular Institute. Dr. Kaibas is Bill’s cardiologist and has been caring for him and his atrial fibrillation for several years.

During the cardiac catheterization, a narrowing of the blood vessel was observed. “With the finding, a stent (a small mesh tube used to open narrow or clogged arteries) was placed.”

Immediate Relief

“As soon as the blockage opened, I felt immediately better,” Bill says of the procedure, which he watched being performed. “They said there was no damage to my heart. They caught it early.”

Before long, Bill, then 72, was back riding his motorcycle; being out in the woods on his property and in Southern Ohio for deer hunting; and fishing the Stillwater River.

“He felt better immediately and continued to report feeling better in his follow-up visit,” Dr. Kaibas adds.

“My nurses were always there. They were a cracker jack team,” Bill says of his experience. “I am extremely happy with the treatment I got at Upper Valley. The cath lab is going to save a lot of lives.”

UVMC’s Level II Catheterization Lab opened on July 30, 2018. Before that date, Bill would have been diagnosed at UVMC and then taken to Dayton for the intervention. “It is a much more convenient venue for patients who can be taken care of here,” Dr. Kaibas says. “The families appreciate this as well because of the travel that was involved going to Dayton."

Benefits Of Expanded Services

The Level II Catheterization Lab “is a big asset to our facility,” Dr. Kaibas says. “We can perform planned as well as unscheduled and emergency procedures. We have had quite a few patients go through the program.”

The lab’s expansion of services allows UVMC to provide angioplasty to improve the symptoms of blocked arteries, such as chest pain and shortness of breath, says interventional cardiologist Gary Fishbein, MD, Premier Cardiovascular Institute. “Angioplasty can also be used during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce the amount of damage to the heart.”

During angioplasty, the cardiologist temporarily inserts and inflates a tiny balloon where an artery is clogged, to widen it so a stent can be placed to hold the artery open.

Patients whose heart disease requires advanced stenting procedures, coronary artery bypass surgery, or other complex procedures can be stabilized by the UVMC team and transported to Miami Valley Hospital for care.

The expanded lab at UVMC means several things, Dr. Fishbein says. “By having an emergency cath lab service available right there at home, our patients are treated quicker, will hopefully be less sick at time of treatment, and families don’t have to be traveling back and forth to see their loved ones,” he said.

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Every moment of your life depends on a strong, healthy heart. The Premier Health cardiology and vascular services team is here to help you, each beat of the way, with prevention, diagnostic, treatment, and rehabilitation services in our hospitals, outpatient centers, and medical offices across Southwest Ohio.