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Carol Farron’s Story

When Carol Farron visited Miami Valley Hospital’s Shaw Emergency and Trauma Center on Feb. 10, doctors determined she likely had gastrointestinal problems but recommended a stress test to be on the safe side.

She scheduled the test at Dayton Cardiology & Vascular Consultants, located near Miami Valley Hospital (MVH). After the treadmill component of the test, she and her husband went to lunch planning to return for more evaluation. At lunch she got dizzy and nauseated, symptoms she attributed to her exertion on the treadmill. When she returned to the office, tests confirmed she was having a mild heart attack. “I knew from the concern in the eyes of the nurses and my cardiologist that it wasn’t good,” said Carol.

She was stabilized and immediately transported by ambulance to the Catheterization Lab at MVH for an angioplasty, a medical procedure to widen a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel. Although angioplasty is the common term, the medical term is percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

A New Option

At the Cath Lab, Carol met Raymond Pratt, MD, an interventional cardiologist and associate clinical professor at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. Dr. Pratt told her about a newer type of PCI, in which entry into the body is made through an artery in the wrist rather than through the femoral artery in the groin.

Dr. Pratt explained that ”even though arteries in a woman’s wrist are usually smaller than those in a man’s wrist, the wrist PCI can be used because advancements in medicine have led to smaller and smaller catheters.

“Some women can’t have it, but it’s a small percentage,” said Dr. Pratt. Carol liked the wrist option: “Dr. Pratt said I had a great pulse in my wrist. He said it was less invasive, and I thought it sounded better than going through the groin.”

Even though sedation is used during a PCI, patients are conscious. Dr. Pratt says that’s because he needs to be able to communicate with them. Carol’s procedure went smoothly. “It didn’t seem to take very long. I was not uncomfortable. I was calm, and I couldn’t feel anything at all,” she said.

Dr. Pratt discovered Carol had one artery in the back of the heart that was nearly 100 percent blocked so he placed a stent in the artery to keep it open. Carol had some pain and bruising following the procedure, which is normal, but her recovery has been successful.

“I go to cardiac rehab three times a week, but I feel good,” she said. She also schedules follow-up appointments to ensure her stent is working properly and no further blockages are developing.

“To my knowledge I’m the only person in the area that does this procedure on a regular basis, in about 75 percent of my cases,” noted Dr. Pratt.

Carol is just glad she was one of them. The scar on her wrist resembles a small cat scratch and will completely heal. “People at the hospital looked at it and said, ‘Oh, that must have been the work of Dr. Pratt,’” said Carol.