Patient Experience

A Heart Saved

NY1's Anthony Pascale reporting

It was always in the back of my mind. My father died of a heart attack at an early age. His father died of heart disease too. I knew one day I'd have to pay close attention to my heart health, I just didn't know that day would come so soon. Not at 35 years old.

It was on a family vacation in July when a trip to the hotel's gym set off an alarm. I was on the treadmill for only a few minutes when a sharp pain started radiating down my chest. I immediately stopped and knew something wasn't right. After resting for a couple minutes, the pain went away.

When I returned home from vacation and felt the pain again, I drove to the emergency room at Staten Island University Hospital. While initial tests didn't signal a problem, my family history of heart disease led doctors to suggest a stress test. After failing it and a subsequent cardiac catheterization, a 99-percent blockage in the main artery was revealed. A stent was inserted and I was sent home the following day.

It's been six months since my procedure and while my stent doesn't prevent me from doing anything I did before, it's something I think about often. While some days are better than others, I am grateful for life! It seems more precious now and I have more reason than ever to enjoy every minute of it.

Anthony's Advice:

Don't ignore the signs! If you experience - any - abnormal pains (chest, arm), no matter your age, consult your physician. Knowing your family history and your heart-health numbers is your best defense against a cardiac event.

To learn about your risks, use the Heart Institute's Heart Attack Risk Calculator at www.theheartinstituteny.com/heart-attack-risk-calculator.