In a heart emergency, every second is critical. Eight years ago as she stood in her kitchen and felt the indescribable pain in her abdomen, Nancy Dreibelbis knew she'd better act fast.
The day after Thanksgiving 2009, nearly after 30 guests returned home and she was tidying up the kitchen, Nancy expereinced what she first thought to be simple indigestion. But as the discomfort increased and moved into her chest, she yelled out in pain to her daughter who was upstairs. Then she called husband, Galen, who was at the office. "I think you better come home," was all he had to hear before he quickly made his way back to their State College home. As someone who'd had heart issues himself, Galen was certain that his wife was having a heart attack.
Within minutes, they arrived at Mount Nittany Medical Center's emergency department where they were rushed to the cardiac catheterization lab. There, an angioplasty was performed, where a stent and balloon catheter were placed in Nancy's clogged artery, opening the artery and allowing blood to flow more freely to the heart muscle.
"I experienced symptoms that you would typically associate with a male heart attack. A lot of people aren't aware that this can happen," explains Nancy. "It's important that women understand that this is a possibility and realize that help is needed. Time really is everything."
At Mount Nittany Health, our skilled, board-certified cardiologists offer extensive experience in diagnosing, treating and managing heart ailments of all types. We use the most up-to-date invasive and non-invasive treatments to keep your heart working efficiently for you.
Our team of cardiology providers is passionate about its work and committed to excellence as evidenced by the fact that cardiac emergency patients are treated "from door to balloon" in an average time of 54 minutes, compared to the national average of 90 minutes. Door to balloon time is the period between the arrival of a patient at the Medical Center and the point when the balloon reaches the blockage during an intervention. The shorter this critical time period is, the less damage is done to the heart muscle due to a lack of oxygen-enriched blood flow.
Our commitment to advanced cardiovascular services started in 2000 when we opened Centre County's first and only cardiac catheterization lab under the leadership of Jeffrey G. Eaton, MD. In 2007, under the leadership of Al Zoda, MD, FACC, we added interventional services and stents to ensure that we could save lives locally. Since that time, we have repsonded to over 745 heart alerts, and currently we serve more than 1,600 people every year, treating conditions ranging from heart attacks to heart failure.
"The ironic part about all of this is that I was skeptical when I first learned of the plans to build a cath lab at the Medical Center. I didn't fully comprehend the capabilities of care and the impact they could have," Galen shares. "Nancy and I are beyond grateful for the care she received. The cath lab probably saved her life."
In this season of giving, please consider a gift to Mount Nittany Health Foundation for expansions to our cardiac catheterization lab and electrophysiology services. To make a gift, please visit give.mountnittany.org/appeal.
Matt Hardy, CFRE
Executive Director, Mount Nittany Health Foundation
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