Pat Annabel receives emergency cardiac care close to home in Walla Walla

heart-care-adventist-health-walla-walla-locationPat Annabel has no obvious risk factors for heart disease, and like most of us, he’d never considered a heart attack a real possibility.

Annabel is in good shape, he doesn’t smoke and at 54 years old he considers himself too young for heart disease. But he does have one risk factor that, in retrospect, he may not have taken seriously enough—his family history of heart disease. His father underwent a quadruple bypass for heart problems he developed at a young age.

“I thought I might need heart care someday,” Annabel says.

But on a February Monday around noon, his father’s story became his own. Annabel was raking leaves in his yard when a sudden, intense pain erupted in his chest. He knew it was serious, so he took two aspirin and asked a friend to take him to the emergency center at Walla Walla General Hospital (WWGH).

Though he’s a relatively new Walla Wallan, Annabel had heard more than once that WWGH was the best place to go for heart care.

Within 45 minutes

Upon arriving at the WWGH accredited Chest Pain Center, Annabel was immediately evaluated and prepped for an emergency angioplasty in the cardiac catheterization lab. Within 45 minutes, his blocked artery had been cleared and he was on his way to recovery.

Annabel is grateful that advanced cardiac care was so close to his home—and that his heart held out as long as it did. But he also feels his experience was providential. The cardiologist who treated him, Brad Titus, MD, had returned from a medical mission trip to Rwanda only the day before.

“Dr. Titus and his crew at the cath lab gave me first-rate care,” says Annabel. “I was lucky to catch him there when I did.”

Fast-track recovery

By the end of February, Annabel had already begun cardiac rehabilitation. He walks an hour every day and says he’s doing well.

“I look to be back to 100 percent within a month or two,” he says.

He cites two reasons for his fast recovery: Starting rehab as soon as he could and the exercise regimen he followed in the months before his heart attack. “I don’t have a car, and so I walk and bicycle everywhere. I think I bicycled about 20 miles a week this winter and even more last summer,” Annabel says. He looks forward to getting back to that vigorous level of activity over time.

Even considering his healthy habits before the heart attack, Annabel thinks he could have done more to prevent the entire experience.

“If I had gone for a health checkup when I was 50 instead of waiting, I might have prevented all of this,” he says.