It has been nearly three months since Bob Bates experienced one of the most terrifying moments in his life.
“I had planned on getting my shoulder repaired, so when my arm started hurting I didn’t think it was a heart attack,” said the retired US Air Force serviceman. “It was persistent and I decided to take a few baby aspirins and even then the pain in my arm did not fade. It was then I told my wife we needed to go to the hospital.”
After arriving at Ruby Valley Medical Center, Bob was told he was suffering a heart attack. He was transported to St. James Healthcare via LifeFlight, where he underwent emergent cardiac catheterization. It just so happened that St. James opened its new Catheterization Lab a week earlier, thanks in part to a grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.
“The Catheterization Suite allows more room for our team to operate and the improved resolution and imaging quality has increased our ability to work with more precision and speed,” said Interventional Cardiologist Daniel Langdon, MD. “Within the suite is two labs, one that is dedicated to catheterization while the other is for interventional radiology procedures. This allows us to treat patients who present with heart attacks immediately.”
Dr. Langdon placed two stents in his left circumflex artery, after discovering that Bob had one area that was 99% blocked and the other was 70% blocked.
“Being a certified CPR instructor helped me to realize that I was having a heart attack, I have been teaching American Heart Association “Heart Saver” classes for a while." Bob said. “I am thankful that I was able to get the medical attention I needed without having to travel too far.”
Dr. Langdon commends Bob for the progress he’s made since his heart attack in late February.
“He’s recovering very well,” said Dr. Langdon. “His outlook is really dependent on remaining tobacco free and maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.”
Bob, who is 61-years-old, has completed a six-week cardiac rehab program at St. James, and now visits virtually with a healthcare provider from the VA. Since the event Bob has lost close to 30 pounds as he rededicated himself to working out each day and playing in a weekly golf league. Additionally, he encourages other men to take a proactive approach to heart health.
“Cutting back on alcoholic beverages and increasing my activity has really helped me get to a better place physically,” said Bob. “Men my age need to be intentional in their day-to-day in order to live a heart healthy lifestyle.”
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The Montana Standard