Ruth Garrett & Transradial Catheterization - Adventist HealthCare

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Published on February 26, 2013

Ruth Garrett & Transradial Catheterization


Ruth Garrett
Patient: Ruth Garrett, Clarksburg, MD

Location: Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital

Service: Transradial Catheterization

Doctor: Michael Chen, MD

It has been two years since Ruth Garrett of Clarksburg trusted her heart to the expert cardiac team at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. She underwent a minimally invasive heart procedure, called a transradial catheterization, to open up her blocked heart arteries. The intervention helped her regain her stamina and continue participating in her favorite hobby — tap dancing.

Ruth credits Michael Chen, M.D., Interventional Cardiologist at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, and her team of nurses and caregivers for giving her another chance at a lively, active life at the age of 85.

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I started tap dancing at age 75. So I had never had any experience before. Because I am a musician, the rhythm makes me feel - I don't even realize that I'm exercising. I ended up sitting on the sideline watching the ladies and the one gentlemen in our class, and I would try, but my chest would get too heavy, and would start to pound, so it was very depressing for me.

I got to the point where I couldn't come to class, and it was very sad, and I thought I'm on my way down now, and got myself a gift certificate to Pumphreys - that's a local funeral home. So it was very depressing for me, and that's when I told my daughter and she insisted I do something about it, and Dr. Shoemaker recommended that I go to see Dr. Chen because he was, as he referred to him, brilliant. And if anybody could do anything for me it would be Dr. Chen.

Ruth absolutely had classic signs of angina, she wasn't getting enough blood flow to her heart, and that was the reason why she was having the chest heaviness and shortness of breath, which unfortunately for her was becoming quite debilitating to the point where she wasn't able to live the active lifestyle that she liked. Given her desire to get back to tap-dancing and lead an active life, I thought it was absolutely worth discussing with her, and then proceeding with, an angiogram to try and see what blockages she had, and consequently fixing the blockages.

He felt certain that the procedure that he was a specialist with would help, going in through the wrist. It sounded impossible to me, getting to the heart just going up through my arm.

What we do is we put a little tube in the blood vessel, either in the arm or in the leg, and through that go up to the heart and take pictures of the blood vessel in the heart. We use it to look for any blockages, especially if patients are having chest pains or shortness of breath, and often if they've had an abnormal stress test.

It was totally amazing because right after the procedure I no longer felt anything in my chest, which to me was totally amazing. I thought I'd give tap dancing a try, because I was feeling so good, so I came back and started out very slowly, and now I'm coming to two classes a week and they haven't kicked me out yet.

I'm really inspired by the recovery she's made after the stents were put in, and it's fantastic that she's gone back to tap dancing. You know she's really an inspiration to myself, and all of us, and I think if I have half the energy that she has when I'm 85 I'll be very lucky.

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