A New Swing at Life
As he prepares for the upcoming 2018 Southwest Amputee Golf Association Texas Tournament, 70-year-old Scott Arnold reflects on how grateful he is to be playing golf again. As someone who lives with a diabetic amputation and is a heart attack survivor living with high-risk heart disease, this round is especially meaningful, symbolizing his journey back to health.
“A little over twenty years ago, I had a heart attack. I was 49 at the time and not aware of what was happening to me. I had really bad indigestion and didn’t feel great. I couldn’t sleep that night, I was more than uncomfortable” recalled Mr. Arnold, a father of five, grandfather and great-grandfather. “We called my sister, who is a registered nurse, and she came over. She checked my vitals and had me go to the hospital.” Mr. Arnold underwent a diagnostic procedure in the cardiac cath lab that allowed his doctors to see the problem and determine the best treatment.
Over the next few days, two separate physicians delivered devastating news that his heart was only 60% functional and he may only have two to five more years to live. Shocked and disheartened, Mr. Arnold sought another opinion at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, and it was there that he came under the care of cardiologist Dr. Robert Wozniak.
“I walked in and told him I wanted to be aggressive about my treatment and do whatever it takes to make my heart better,” said Arnold. “Dr. Wozniak introduced me to a cardiac surgeon, who performed a triple bypass a week later. For the next 19 years, I had no other heart issues.”
In October of last year, Mr. Arnold started experiencing chest pain again and underwent a diagnostic procedure in the cardiac cath lab, revealing blockages in all of his coronary arteries. Due to his previous bypass history and severity of his heart disease, he was no longer a candidate for surgery.
Despite the high-risk nature of Arnold’s heart condition and risk of complications due to his diabetes, Dr. Wozniak was able to perform a relatively new, FDA-approved, non-surgical procedure called Protected PCI. During this procedure, Impella®, the world’s smallest heart pump, was inserted through a small puncture in the leg and advanced over a guidewire into the heart. Once in place, Impella temporarily assisted the pumping function of Mr. Arnold’s heart, allowing Dr. Wozniak to safely treat the blockages and restore blood flow.
An unexpected problem occurred during Arnold’s procedure which blocked blood flow to a portion of his heart. The Impella heart pump played a vital role in helping pump blood to the rest of his body and preventing a devastating complication. Because of the Impella heart pump, Arnold’s heart was allowed to rest and recover.
“My condition was more serious than I thought. I found out afterwards that my doctor had used the Impella heart pump during the procedure, which he explained took the stress off my heart,” shared Arnold. “It allowed him to do more to help me and I am so grateful for that.”
“Patients who have high-risk coronary artery disease who are not candidates for heart surgery, like Mr. Arnold, can benefit greatly from Protected PCI with Impella,” explained Dr. Wozniak. “In this case, it allowed me to perform a more complete intervention, with more confidence that the high-risk procedure would be successful, and get him back on the golf course.”
Since the procedure, Mr. Arnold has resumed his active lifestyle; teaching courses in real estate, exercising three days a week and golfing regularly. He has not experienced any heart issues since his procedure and jokes that “it has not slowed me down at all.”
This past June, he and his wife, Margaret, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary with a cruise to Alaska. He was thrilled to enjoy the experience to its fullest, participating in all excursions, without any restrictions or concerns related to his cardiac history.
For those who are suffering from heart disease, or who have a loved one with heart disease, Mr. Arnold recommends finding a doctor who is abreast of the latest, clinically proven heart treatments. “The procedure Dr. Wozniak performed allowed me to go to Alaska, to continue playing golf and will allow me to walk my daughter down the aisle next month” praised Arnold. “None of that would have occurred if he hadn’t intervened with Impella and given me the opportunity to repair the damage to my heart. That is truly a gift.”
Talk with a doctor to see if Protected PCI with Impella is right for you. Learn more at Impella.com.
All cardiovascular procedures have risk. Potential adverse events associated with the use of Impella include: acute renal dysfunction, aortic valve injury, bleeding, cardiogenic shock, stroke, hemolysis, limb ischemia, myocardial infarction, renal failure, thrombocytopenia, vascular injury and death.
To learn more about the Impella platform of heart pumps, including important risk and safety information associated with the use of the devices, please visit: www.abiomed.com/important-safety-information
Making heart repair safer for no-option patients recommended for a PCI procedure
- The world’s smallest heart pump
- Impella® is a heart pump intended for temporary (≤ 6 hours) use by patients with severe symptomatic CAD and diminished (but stable) heart function who are undergoing PCI but are not candidates for surgical coronary bypass treatment