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Cardiac Catheterization Restores Blood Flow to Cancer Survivor’s Heart

Rapid catheterization and stenting after STEMI require access to comprehensive cardiac expertise and technology

Cardiac Catheterization

All heart attacks require prompt medical treatment. However, the complete blockage of a coronary artery that characterizes an ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI) makes time, technology and expertise especially – and equally – critical.

Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute is the only center in the region with the expertise to treat these very serious heart attacks.

On-demand care

“Our STEMI team members are on call during overnight hours and on weekends, and we are the only hospital that can handle every heart emergency,” says Anil Gupta, MD, Chief of cardiology at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Pocono.

Gupta was already working at the hospital when emergency medical personnel alerted the STEMI team that Anthony Cadwalader, a non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, was on his way there.

That late summer Saturday, Cadwalader collapsed soon after finishing a mixed doubles tennis match during a tournament. “He was fortunate to have had timely CPR and that an automated external defibrillator was available,” Gupta says. “The combination of those two things often can mean the difference between life and death for someone who suffers cardiac arrest.”

Expertise and technology

Upon arrival at LVH–Pocono, an EKG confirmed Cadwalader’s heart attack. He was then moved to the state-of-the-art catheterization laboratory. “One of his coronary arteries was fully blocked,” Gupta says. “We were able to clear the blockage and install a stent to keep the artery open.”

During the percutaneous coronary intervention PCI), Gupta threaded a balloon-tipped catheter through a blood vessel to the blocked coronary artery. Inflating the balloon successfully compressed the plaque against the artery’s walls, allowing blood to flow. A mesh stent was placed and allows blood to flow through the artery.

Because he is a cancer survivor, Cadwalader’s doctors made sure to take his previous history into consideration during his treatment.

“There are a lot of things we can do as cardiologists to decrease a patient’s risk for developing a heart problem from cancer treatment,” says Deborah Sundlof, DO, cardiologist, Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute.

Following the PCI, Cadwalader was transferred to the intensive care unit. He was discharged after two days and is now recuperating at home.

Tony Cadwalader

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