A Blocked Artery Causes A Detour

Last fall, Zenaida was out walking her baby granddaughter in the stroller when she suddenly felt a strong chest pain. It only lasted a minute or so, but then she noticed something else: her hand was going numb.

She was still about a block away from home and was worried that she would pass out and leave her grandchild without a caregiver. She reached for her cell phone to call a neighbor for help but managed to get herself and the baby home safely. Her daughters recommended that she contact cardiologist Eileen Kelly, MD, Medical Director of the Women's Heart Program, NorthShore University HealthSystem. Upon hearing Zenaida’s symptoms Dr Kelly suspected that she may have a blockage.

Diagnostic tests revealed that one of her arteries showed a 90 percent block. She was immediately referred to the cardiac catheterization lab, where an interventional cardiologist cleared the blockage with an angioplasty and stent.

Looking back on the experience, Zenaida admits that before that episode, she did occasionally feel chest pain or other unusual symptoms. “I used to always make excuses,” she told us. “I used to say it’s just stress or it’s probably just indigestion. But now I listen.”

We’re happy to report that Zenaida is on a good path. She is on medication, watches her fat intake more carefully and is determined to drop 40 pounds. With this new plan, we expect Zenaida to be around for a lot more stroller walks with her granddaughter.

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