After enjoying a day of golf with his friends, Stanley Coolen began experiencing an upset stomach. Stanley is an active, healthy 72-year old from Saugus, MA. According to him, neither he nor his wife, Nicky, had been sick for a day in the nearly 50 years they had been married. But as he approached the clubhouse, he collapsed in cardiac arrest.
Stanley’s best friend found him, lying face down and called for help. Luckily, another golfer trained in CPR was at the club that day, and she quickly began to administer CPR until the EMTs arrived on the scene.
Stanley was transported to the MelroseWakefield Hospital emergency department, where the staff were prepared and waiting for his arrival. Dr. Laurence Conway, chief of cardiology, had him rushed into the cardiac catheterization lab. “When we met Stanley in the emergency department, he was barely alive and in profound shock,” said Dr. Conway. “He probably had less than a 50 percent chance of survival. He needed to receive a stent procedure to open his arteries, but his heart was too weak to pump blood and oxygen throughout his body, and his organs were beginning to fail.”
Meet the Impella
MelroseWakefield Hospital, through its clinical partnership with Tufts Medical Center, has access to sophisticated lifesaving technology and equipment, including Impella, the world’s smallest heart pump. “We knew that we had to take some stress off of Stanley’s heart, and thanks to Impella, we could do just that,” said Dr. Conway.
Teams immediately mobilized, while CPR kept Stanley’s weak heart going. “This was a full multi-team response to get that pump to Stanley’s heart,” said Dr. Conway.
The Impella, manufactured locally in Danvers, MA, is a tiny implantable pump inserted minimally-invasively into the chest with a catheter, through the femoral artery of the groin and into the heart’s pumping chamber. “The Impella takes over the pumping for the heart, giving the heart some time to rest and recover from the trauma it just experienced,” said Dr. Conway. “Essentially, it takes the heart offline so it can rest.”
“Stanley was lucky that we had access to the Impella available…without it, he wouldn’t have survived,” said Dr. Conway. “We were able to stabilize him and then open up his arteries with two stents,” Said Dr. Conway. The technology and teams saved his life. “Without the availability of the Impella device, he would not have survived.”
Once his condition was stabilized, Stanley was transported to Tufts Medical Center to recover.
A Happy Anniversary
Following a short stay in the hospital, Stanley was able to return home to his family. Two months after his heart attack, he and his wife Nicky celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Today, Stanley looks forward to playing golf and spending time with his three grandchildren.
MelroseWakefield Hospital is one of the first community hospitals in the region to establish in-house cardiac catheterization, cardiology, arrhythmia and interventional radiology programs.
The catheterization laboratory, or cath lab, examines how the heart is working, identifies any problems and performs procedures to open blocked arteries. MelroseWakefield Hospital is the only hospital in the area that offers emergency cardiac cath lab procedures and clinical expertise to provide life-saving heart care.
“Stanley’s story had a happy ending, and there are several factors that led to that,” said Dr. Conway. He eats well and keeps his stress levels low. Keeping a healthy lifestyle is essential to keeping a strong heart.” Including the quick actions of the people who administered CPR at the golf course and the fact that Stanley stays healthy and active. But also, as Dr. Conway adds, having access to advanced cardiac care in the community is critical to saving lives. “The saying is minutes are muscle in cardiac arrest and the sooner you can get those blocked arteries open and blood reflowing the better the chance of restoring full heart muscle function. That is why we developed this advanced cardiology center and are delivering life-saving care right here in the community.”
“Everyone at MelroseWakefield Hospital did a remarkable job,” said Stanley. “My family and I can’t thank them enough for saving my life!”
Stanley’s story is a great reminder to take a few minutes to become aware of any risks, signs or symptoms of heart disease or heart attack. Talk to your doctor or visit melrosewakefield.org/heart to learn more.
A Virtual Reunion
Technology has played an important role in Stanley Coolen’s life over the past year. After receiving lifesaving care at the MelroseWakefield Hospital Cardiovascular Center, including an Impella, the world’s smallest implantable heart pump, Stanley and his wife Nicky were able to use technology once again to take part in a virtual reunion with the team from the cath lab.
The reunion, made possible by Abiomed Inc., the maker of Impella, included nurses and techs involved in Stanley’s care as well as Dr. Laurence Conway, chief of cardiology, MelroseWakefield Healthcare president and CEO Sue Sandberg, and Deborah Cronin-Waelde, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Officer.
“Stanley had a quick and full recovery,” said Dr. Conway. “It is so gratifying for the staff to see the patients who come to the cath lab so sick, to be walking around soon afterwards. There were lots of smiles, a few tears and some great memories.”