Tom Millikin's Story
One day I was mowing my lawn and playing basketball. The next day, I went to work at the medical practice at which I’m a physician’s assistant. I worked all morning in the operating room with no problems.
I felt fine until I started having chest pains about 1 p.m. When the severe pains continued after I rested, I went to the emergency room at DeKalb Medical at North Decatur. An electrocardiogram, which tests the electrical activity of the heart, performed in the emergency department showed that I was having a heart attack. I was taken to the catheterization lab, where the doctor discovered that a stent, placed in one of my arteries in 2005 to keep it open, was completely blocked and three other arteries leading to my heart were somewhat blocked as well.
The doctor told me that my left anterior descending artery was completely blocked and that I needed PCI, which is also known as angioplasty, immediately, because this artery supplies the majority of the blood flow to the heart.
When I needed angioplasty and a stent in 2005, I went to a hospital near my home south of Atlanta but I had to be transferred to Saint Joseph’s hospital for the procedure. It was not easy for me or for my family to be so far from home for such a serious procedure.
I’m glad that DeKalb Medical offers angioplasty so I could receive treatment immediately, without the need for an ambulance trip to another hospital.
I was in the hospital for two and one-half days, and returned to work the following week. I went back for elective procedures to place stents in two of the other three arteries that were blocked, but my doctor and I are just watching the third artery carefully because the blockage is minor.
My treatment at DeKalb Medical was a tremendous experience.