The occasional chest pain last fall got the attention of Gwenda Kolb of Aberdeen, S.D. She had a history of coronary artery disease, including two procedures for blocked coronary arteries.
“I’d been through this before and was familiar with what should be done,” says the 72-year-old. “But it took me awhile to agree to it.”
“My earlier procedures required out-of-town travel. That’s a lot of expenses and arrangements,” she says. “Staying here is so much easier!”
Full-time and Aberdeen-based, the local heart team brings impressive credentials:
“With my 20 years of experience, I’m old-school but trained in the new ways,” says Dr. Windsor. “Dr. Sharma is younger and has the newest technology under his belt. The two of us combined give a complete picture.”
At Gwenda’s first appointment with Dr. Windsor, she also met. Dr. Sharma. “This is a team that’s very knowledgeable and trustworthy,” she says. “I felt comfortable with both of them. They also did a good job explaining the procedure in a way that I could understand.”
A thorough exam and tests indicated Gwenda needed a cardiac angiogram, a high-level heart study that shows possible blockages. If blockages are severe enough, an additional treatment procedure called an angioplasty can be completed at the same time.
Performed in Sanford Aberdeen’s new state-of-the-art cardiac cath lab (link here), an angiogram requires the insertion of a catheter (long, narrow tubing). The usual point of entry is the femoral artery in the groin, but a newer technique involves the radial artery in the wrist. Both procedures are safe and effective.
Gwenda’s scheduled procedure took place in November. “I went in that morning and by 5 was back home,” she says. “I felt well cared for and didn’t even feel like I was in hospital. Very homey and comfortable.”
She was relieved to learn her angiogram revealed no major blockages. Her medications were adjusted and she continues to see Dr. Windsor for follow-up. She also completed a four-week stint in Cardiac Rehab (link here) at Sanford Aberdeen.
Natalie Frank, Cardiac Rehab manager, stresses the importance of specialized exercise following a heart procedure.
“We slowly build patients to the point where they’re confident exercising on their own,” she says.
Gwenda now belongs to a gym and uses the treadmill and bicycle.
Available for emergencies, too
In addition to scheduled procedures, the heart team at Sanford Aberdeen is well-prepared for emergencies.
“Our ‘door to balloon’ time is excellent,” says Dr. Windsor. “From the time a patient with an acute heart attack arrives to the time we open the blockage, we’re consistently at 60 minutes or less. The national goal is 90.”
Care doesn’t end after a life has been saved, as Dr. Sharma points out: “Once you’re diagnosed with heart disease, it doesn’t go away. We stay in touch with our patients and we’re available for them.”
Gwenda appreciates the difference: “It puts you at ease knowing the care you need is right here in Aberdeen.”
Life is good
Today Gwenda continues her much-loved life. She likes living independently in a senior-living apartment and enjoys her full-time work at Northern Electric. “The employees out there are like family,” she says.
She appreciates her own family, too. “I’d love to be here to see my grandkids grow up, graduate and get married. Maybe they’ll even give me some great-grandkids,” she says. “I’m very happy with my life.”
To make an appointment with Dr. Sharma or Dr. Windsor, call Sanford Aberdeen at (605) 725-1700.