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Focus: A Horseman's Return

Jim Clark, a serious horseman and bluegrass guitarist in his spare time, sensed he was slowing down. But a heart attack just before Thanksgiving proved that health, not age, was the culprit. Now recovered and into regular workouts at Shady Grove's Cardiac Rehabilitation and EECP Center (Enhanced External Counter Pulsation), Jim is able to focus again on everything he enjoys doing.

Jim never felt any chest pain or other telltale symptoms of a heart attack. "I just felt kind of funny, as though things weren't working quite right in the engine room," he says. Jim arrived at Shady Grove's Emergency Department by ambulance. An immediate blood test revealed he was right in the midst of a heart attack.

Catheterization showed that one artery was completely blocked, but collateral arteries had developed around the blockage and were maintaining the blood flow. A clot, they theorized, had caused the mild attack, perhaps dissolved by the aspirin Jim took when he felt unwell.

From the Emergency Department and Catheterization Lab to Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and then to the regular cardiac unit, Shady Grove's physicians, nursing staff, nutritionists, and even hospital-affiliated masseuse coordinated their care, each fully "on top of the situation." Says Jim, "Everything operated like a well-oiled machine."

After returning home, Jim began complete, increasingly rigorous routines at Shady Grove's Cardiac Rehabilitation and EECP Center, a full-scale fitness center where response to exercise is closely, constantly monitored, and classes are offered in cardio-related issues such as diet. In three months, Jim worked up from a twenty-minute walk to a thirty-minute, five mile-per-hour run on the treadmill.

Today, Jim maintains his focus on exercise and diet. He says of his regained health and fitness, "Shady Grove didn't just save my life, they gave me back my life. I feel so much more physically able. I haven't felt this good for a long, long time."

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