Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Life-Saving Screening Changes Runner’s Fate

If you ask Michael Staires, 65, what saved his life, he will probably tell you it started with a letter he received in the mail. An upcoming seminar hosted by Oklahoma Heart Institute sparked his interest and he thought it would be a good idea if he and his wife attend. They made the reservation and marked it on the calendar. If nothing else, Staires thought, it would give him some good information about heart disease, which affected his mother’s side of the family.

During the seminar, they learned about the life-saving screenings available at Oklahoma Heart Institute and what those screenings can tell you specifically about your heart health. Staires admits he was curious if his controlled, but high pressure was the result of plaque building up in his arteries. He had never really worried about it before; after all he was in a running group, training with coaches and had just completed the Route 66 5k the previous month. “I was feeling pretty good,” Staires said of his health at the time.

During his screening at the SouthPointe clinic, Staires recalls a change in the levity of the conversation with the nurse. “All of the sudden she stopped talking and brought someone in,” says Staires.  Within a few minutes a cardiologist was in the room and scheduled an angiogram for the next week.

The following week, Staires returned for his angiogram, which revealed nearly 100 percent blockages in three arteries and a 70 percent blockage in the fourth.  The active runner received the news along with an explanation that he might have suffered a heart attack in the past. “I was surprised and shocked,” he says. “To find out the bottom of my heart was dead and I had that much blockage was a complete shock.”

Less than a week after his angiogram, Staires was prepped and ready for open heart surgery, the surgery that would ultimately change his fate. As mentioned, his mother had heart disease on her side of the family. Of his mother’s three brothers and five sisters, four died in their 50s from heart disease. Without a screening to detect the blockages in his arteries, Staires would not have known his own failing heart health.

Today, Staires follows up with his cardiologist, Dr. Edward Martin, once a year. He continues to control his blood pressure with medication and is now on cholesterol medication. He continues to stay active, eat well and be mindful of his health. His advice to anyone considering a life-saving screening, “Get the assessment,” he says. “If nothing else, it establishes a baseline for the future.”

To schedule an appointment for a life-saving screening, please call 918.592.0999 or click here to make an appointment online. Screenings are available at several Oklahoma Heart Institute locations, including in Owasso at Bailey Medical Center.

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