Jennifer's heart attack - She was seven months pregnant
A Mother’s Heart - Inspira Medical Center Woodbury
While at home in Mullica Hill in February 2015, Jennifer had severe chest pains. Concerned about both her health and her baby’s, she went to an emergency room to be checked out. Neither a physical examination nor an electrocardiogram (EKG) indicated she was having a heart attack, and Jennifer returned home.
“The next day, I started having even worse chest pressure and shooting pains in my left arm,” Jennifer said. “I kept thinking it was just heartburn, but my mom told me she was taking me to the hospital. We got in her car, but I started to vomit and scream in pain. That’s when we called the ambulance.”
First responders did another EKG. This time, it revealed a blocked artery that was causing Jennifer to have a heart attack. They took her to the closest hospital, Inspira Medical Center Woodbury.
Close, Connected, Equipped
When Jennifer arrived, Kurt Kaulback, M.D., board-certified interventional cardiologist at Inspira Medical Center Woodbury, was the physician on call.
“In 24 years working as an interventional cardiologist, I had never treated a pregnant woman having a heart attack,” Dr. Kaulback said. “Having a heart attack caused by a blood clot, especially at 32 weeks pregnant, is not common at all.”
Jennifer needed a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with stenting. The procedure involves using a balloon to re-open the clogged artery and then inserting a stent, or metal mesh tube, to keep blood flowing. Inspira Medical Center Woodbury is the only hospital in Gloucester
County that provides emergency PCI, and the hospital’s door-to-balloon time is well within standards set by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association.
Dr. Kaulback and the catheterization lab team, with an obstetrician and labor and delivery nurses standing by, conducted the procedure, minimizing the use of medications that could have sent Jennifer into early labor. The staff helped comfort Jennifer during this terrifying emergency.
“Everyone was very kind,” Jennifer said. “They reassured me that if I did have to deliver the baby, I was far enough along that everything would be fine. Luckily, that wasn’t necessary, but it definitely put me at ease. They talked to me the entire time about what they were doing, and why, which helped calm me down.”
Full Term and Full of Life
The emergency procedure stopped Jennifer’s heart attack, and her son, Declan, was born April 4, 2015, in perfect health.
Despite having several tests to determine the cause of her heart attack, Jennifer is still unsure of why it happened. Jennifer was younger than the typical heart attack patient, she wasn’t overweight, she had no blood clot disorders and she didn’t have a family history of heart attacks. Nevertheless, Jennifer is sure she got the care she needed when she needed it.
“The physicians and staff saved my life and Declan’s,” Jennifer said. “Everyone was efficient and quick, and today I have no lingering side effects from my heart attack.”
EMERGENCY PCI IS PERFORMED AT INSPIRA MEDICAL CENTERS IN VINELAND AND WOODBURY. LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS EMERGENCY PROCEDURE, AND THE OTHER LIFESAVING SERVICES AVAILABLE ACROSS SOUTH JERSEY, at InspiraHealthNetwork.org
In fall 2015, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) recognized Inspira Medical Center Woodbury with a Get with the Guidelines® Resuscitation Gold Award — demonstrating that Inspira Medical Center Woodbury has adhered to the highest standards of care for patient safety, medical emergency team response, effective and timely resuscitation, and post-resuscitation care.