Kelly (left) with his wife reside in Orange County.

Kelly, 43, suffered a heart attack during what was supposed to be a relaxing time during his “staycation.” Kelly was always on top of his health adhering to a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Kelly had just come back from having lunch with his wife, during his “staycation” when he suddenly started experiencing odd symptoms such as back pain and curling of his hands. They called 911 immediately. Paramedics EKG demonstrated signs of a heart attack and Kelly was rushed to MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center where he was met by Ronald D. Gim, M.D., who would become his attending cardiologist.

Upon arrival, Kelly was swiftly transferred to the cardiac catheterization suite where an angiogram showed a severe blockage that was the cause of his heart attack.  Immediate angioplasty was performed and within minutes he had restoration of blood flow.  However, the rush of oxygen to this injured tissue resulted in arrhythmias and Kelly required shocks for two brief cardiac arrests.  Thankfully the exceptional cardiovascular team at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Saddleback Medical Center acted quickly and were able to successfully resuscitate and stabilize him.

Kelly spent the evening sedated and intubated for his safety and, by morning, he was alert and giving the “thumbs up”!  The critical care team was ready to take him off the ventilator when Kelly suddenly crashed.  CPR and resuscitative efforts began but it was clear that this was not a problem connected to his heart attack and quick assessment identified a massive pulmonary embolism.  Kelly, for the second time in less than 24 hours, was facing a life-threatening emergency.

Kelly was taken back to the cardiovascular catheterization lab and a pulmonary thrombectomy was performed, a new technique to remove large clots in the lung circulation requiring only a catheter insertion in the femoral vein.  In years past, no such treatment was readily available and survival from this condition was unlikely.  However, Kelly quickly turned the corner and his clinical status normalized.  By the next morning he was back on track, and he was smiling with wife at his side.  Within a week Kelly was discharged despite having 3 cardiac arrests, a heart attack and a massive pulmonary embolism.

The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Saddleback Medical Center is one of the leading hospitals in the country with physicians specializing in advanced, minimally invasive heart and vascular procedures. Its renowned cardiac specialists utilize innovative techniques that allow patients to benefit from fewer complications, less scarring, greater comfort, and faster recoveries.

“Dr. Gim went above and beyond and took care of me even on his days off,” says Kelly. “My wife was on top of everything and in constant contact with the medical team at Saddleback Medical Center. The open communication with the staff made it easy to stay in touch and aware of every detail that was happening with my care.”

“Kelly was very smart to recognize his signs of heart attack and seek care at Saddleback Medical Center. Moreover, he was exceedingly fortunate to have been with us to recognize and treat his pulmonary embolism when we did. Kelly is now enjoying the normalcy of a 40 something year old along with his wife and new child,” says Dr. Gim.

Today, Kelly is feeling great and continues with his regular everyday workout routine. He is still required to take a few medications provided by his doctor such as blood thinners which helps in stopping blood clots from forming, he also participates in cardiac rehabilitation at Saddleback Medical Center Outpatient Heart and Wellness Center. Cardiac rehabilitation helps patients like Kelly recover quickly by focusing on improving physical/mental health and provide them the tools to prevent a recurrence of cardiovascular disease by educating about risk factors including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, obesity and tobacco abuse. The goal of the heart and wellness center is to be able to provide exceptional cardiac treatment and care to patients and the community.

Kelly was able to return to work quickly and is thankful for how flexible work was with his situation.

“I was really happy with the level of attention I received,” says Kelly. “I will definitely stay more on top of my health now especially since there’s family history of heart issues and my grandfather passed away years ago from a heart attack, so I need to be more aware of how I take care of myself moving forward.”