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Sam Martin

After heart surgery, patient is dancing again

Samantha “Sam” Martin had tried for years to improve her heart health, but to no avail. “I’d already lost 25 pounds and tried a number of medications for my high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” explains Sam, a systems analyst at Belden in Richmond.“My doctor recommended the Heart CT Scan at Reid, and that seemed like a good next step to figure out what was going on.”

Sam underwent the painless, 15-minute procedure just before Thanksgiving 2010. Despite having no outward symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, the results were not good. She had significant calcium buildup in her heart’s arteries, indicating the presence or risk of heart disease. Sam’s physician, Dr. Howard Deitsch, sent her back to Reid for an electrocardiogram and stress test. “I flunked both of them!” she says.

A heart catheterization procedure a few days later detected significant blockages in Sam’s arteries. Immediately afterward, she met with Dr. E. Paul Howanitz, chief cardiothoracic surgeon at Reid. “Dr. Howanitz said I was at high risk for a major heart attack and recommended I have bypass surgery as soon as possible,” Sam recalls. “I was so shocked, I couldn’t fully absorb what he was saying. I asked him if I could think about it, but I knew I didn’t have a choice. I needed to have that surgery.”

Following the successful quadruple bypass, Sam underwent 12 weeks of cardiac rehab at Reid and is feeling good. She has since returned to work — and to the dance floor.

“A few of my friends seemed surprised that I was having my bypass surgery at Reid,” Sam says. “I said, why would I want to drive to Indianapolis when we have one of the best cardiac centers around? Dr. Howanitz was wonderful, and everyone at Reid was very gracious and kind. There was never any question that I’d go to Reid.”

For more information about the Reid Heart and Vascular Center, call (765) 983-3255.

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