Atlanta, Ga. (April 14, 2014) – Two weeks ago, Doug Pyzer of Murphy, N.C., took the ride of his life as doctors sent him off in a helicopter to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital so he could get the treatment he needed to survive a massive heart attack.
Pyzer, whose only symptom was a feeling of slight discomfort in the chest, thought he may be experiencing heartburn so he elected to take some over-the-counter medicine and lie down at first. After his wife Sandy insisted he seek medical attention and he realized the feeling wasn’t going away, Pyzer reluctantly agreed and drove to Blairsville, Ga. to meet with his primary care physician.
“At the doctor’s office, they performed an EKG (electrocardiogram) and almost immediately, they asked that I go to Union General Hospital, which was a couple of minutes away,” said Pyzer. “I just couldn’t believe it when I got there and the doctor told me I was having a heart attack at that very moment.”
Time is muscle when dealing with matters of the heart. The quicker the patient is treated, the less damage to the heart there is. Because Pyzer received medical treatment quickly, he survived.
“Doug’s artery was 100% blocked,” said John Kelley, M.D., the Piedmont Heart cardiologist who saw Pyzer at Union General and sent him to Atlanta to get the care he needed. “If Doug’s wife had not pushed him to see a doctor, he would most likely not have survived this massive heart attack.”
By the time his wife Sandy had made her way to Piedmont Atlanta from their home in Murphy, N.C., Pyzer had already undergone an interventional procedure with Bhagat Reddy, M.D., of Piedmont Heart. Dr. Reddy placed a stent in Pyzer’s heart to restore blood flow to his heart.
“Even though I kept telling him all the things he probably shouldn’t be doing in the case he was actually having a heart attack, I was completely shocked when I got the call,” said Pyzer’s wife Sandy. “I was scared to death. I had heard of the widow maker before but it wasn’t on my radar.”
In the United States, someone like Pyzer suffers a heart attack every 34 seconds, according to the American Heart Association. Warning signs include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, discomfort or pain in one or both arms, neck, back, stomach or jaw. Women should also look out for a feeling of pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. Those experiencing signs of a heart attack should dial 9-1-1 immediately.
“This was all puzzling to me,” said Pyzer. “I thought it couldn’t happen to me, that I was invincible. I just want people to know they’ve got to listen to themselves. The signs are there. Take action.”
For more information or to assess your risk for heart disease with a simple quiz, visit piedmontheart.org.