Mark Wilkins, a survivor of heart failure, is ready to celebrate life. After spending several days in a coma and completing a month of cardiac rehabilitation, Wilkins is now able to enjoy time with his family and get back to doing the things he loves like working on his Jeep. On Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 9 a.m., Wilkins will join family, friends, St. Mary Medical Center physicians and hospital staff at a reunion to honor his positive outcome, recovery and future.
In February 2017, Wilkins, 57, felt like something wasn’t quite right with his health. Up until that time he had no history of major health issues. Wife Constance, a healthcare employee herself, knew to act quickly in taking him to the hospital to get checked out.
At St. Mary Medical Center, it was discovered that Wilkins was suffering from atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia that left untreated can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure or other life threatening heart-related complications. Physicians also determined that Wilkins needed a major blockage in his heart cleared and he was in heart failure.
St. Mary Medical Center’s cardiovascular surgical team sprang into action and used a protected percutaneous coronary intervention (Protected PCI) procedure with an Impella® pump to quickly restore blood flow to Wilkins’s heart. During a Protected PCI procedure, the Impella heart pump helps maintain a stable heart function by pumping blood for the heart. This gives a weak heart muscle an opportunity to rest and reduces the heart’s workload, preventing the heart from being overstressed by the procedure as coronary artery blockages are repaired.
The pump is inserted through a catheter in the groin to reach the heart. Once in place, the Impella acts as a bypass machine, pulling blood from the left ventricle through the rest of the heart.
The Impella heart pump, developed by Danvers, Mass.-based Abiomed, Inc., is designed to provide minimally-invasive, temporary support to assist the pumping function of the heart, allowing it to rest and potentially recover. It is the only therapy approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as safe and effective for heart recovery in patients with advanced heart failure requiring Protected PCI or patients in cardiogenic shock due to a heart attack.
Wilkins credits his physicians and surgical team at St. Mary Medical Center with saving his life.
St. Mary Medical Center provides comprehensive cardiovascular care using advanced devices and technology, like Impella, to patients in Northwest Indiana who suffer from heart conditions.
St. Mary Medical Center is one three hospitals of Community Healthcare System that also includes Community Hospital in Munster and St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago. All three hospitals are recognized as Chest Pain Centers, accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. The hospitals earned the distinction based on a rigorous evaluation of their cardiac care services and, for practices, guidelines and treatment during the critical first stages of heart attack.
The Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System offers complex cardiovascular technologies and techniques previously only found at leading academic medical centers. To learn more about heart care at Community Healthcare System, visit http://www.comhs.org/heart-care.
To learn more about the Impella, go to http://www.abiomed.com/impella.