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The Chest Pain Center at UH Geauga Medical Center offers cardiovascular interventions close to home

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Geauga County – Forty-nine-year-old Daniel Sturm of Burton was at work when he began experiencing strange symptoms. “I was sick to my stomach, I was feeling pressure on my chest, and my jaw and right arm were hurting,” says Mr. Sturm, who thought the humid July weather was the cause. The next day, he mowed his lawn and went into the house. “It felt like somebody parked a semi on my chest.  I was sweating and couldn’t catch my breath. I collapsed in the hallway.”

Daniel Sturm was experiencing a STEMI – ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction – a serious heart attack caused by blockage in one of the heart’s major arteries. Mr. Sturm’s fiancée called 911 and EMS rushed him to the nearby Chest Pain Center at University Hospitals (UH) Geauga Medical Center. “As soon as I got there, they took me from the ambulance right into the procedure room,” says Mr. Sturm.

“When someone comes to us with an acute myocardial infarction, time is muscle,” says Gregory Stefano, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, UH Geauga Medical Center. “We were able to perform a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and open Mr. Sturm’s artery in 20 minutes.” Also known as balloon angioplasty, PCI is one of many state-of-the-art procedures and tests the hospital’s fully accredited Chest Pain Center provides to rapidly diagnose and treat chest pain and other cardiovascular conditions in order to minimize heart tissue damage.

With the expertise and support of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, the Chest Pain Center effectively reduces a heart attack patient’s “door-to-balloon” time. “Our team performs between 1,000 and 1,200 procedures in our cardiac catheterization lab each year,” says Lorraine B. Stojkov, MBA, RT(R), RCIS, Manager of Cardiovascular Services, UH Geauga Medical Center. “We work closely with area EMS teams to keep our door-to-balloon times well under the national benchmark of 90 minutes.”

The Chest Pain Center’s response time and excellent patient outcomes are two reasons it was recognized with the 2013 American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Hero Award for Lake and Geauga counties.

Geauga County-area residents can get this award-winning care without having to travel far from home. “At UH Geauga Medical Center, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality cardiovascular care 24 hours a day at a convenient, close-to-home location,” says Dr. Stefano. “In this rural region the ability to deliver high-quality, leading-edge care in a timely fashion is critical to the well-being of this community.”

“UH Geauga Medical Center is outstanding,” says Daniel Sturm, who turned 50 at the end of August. “I’m going to make a full recovery and I have to say it’s because of its chest pain program. I’m feeling awesome.” To learn more about the Chest Pain Center and UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute at UH Geauga Medical Center, visit www.uhhospitals.org/geauga/services/heart-and-vascular.