James Murphy – Heart Attack Success Story

The right team, time, place

The trailer came down as soon as it went up. James Murphy had been trying to lift farm equipment on his Midlothian acreage when his strength vanished and his chest started pounding.

“I told myself I had to make it to the back door,” the 67-year-old Midlothian resident recalls of that May 9 morning. “When I did, I lay down for a minute and then banged on the door.”

His wife of 32 years, Lennie, came running, led him to lie down, then drove him to the nearest fire station, where Midlothian paramedics took over. They rushed the now unconscious James to Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Fortunately, the first responders were able to perform an electro-cardiogram (EKG) of James’ heart in the ambulance and send the results ahead to the hospital. That advance test showed James to be having a heart attack and gave Arash Manzori, DO, interventional cardiologist on the hospital’s medical staff, lead time to prepare for an emergency cardiac catheterization procedure. Little did Dr. Manzori know that James’ heart troubles went beyond a heart attack.

Double trouble

James Murphy – Heart Attack Success Story
“James had two things working against him,” Dr. Manzori says. “First, the heart muscle wasn’t getting enough blood because of a critical blockage in one of his arteries, and second, the heart wasn’t able to pump the blood out to the rest of the body because of a restricted heart valve.”

By the time James got to Dr. Manzori, he was in dire shape. He first needed blood flow restored to his heart and other organs. James’ blood pressure had dropped into the 30s, so Dr. Manzori inserted the world’s tiniest heart pump, the Abiomed® Impella 2.5™, to resume blood flow, and then put a stent into the blocked artery to clear the way for the improved blood flow.

Despite Dr. Manzori’s quick work, James still wasn’t in the clear. Dr. Manzori felt James’ malfunctioning heart valve needed to be replaced, so he called his colleague Aaron Horne Jr., MD, MBA, on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Tag-teaming heart care

James was transferred to Methodist Dallas on May 12 to have his faulty valve replaced with the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure.

“This technology has revolutionized cardiology,” Dr. Horne says. “We are able to allow blood to leave the main pumping chamber of the heart in many instances through an artery in a patient’s groin area.”

Dr. Horne and cardiothoracic surgeon John Jay, MD, also on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas, had begun performing the TAVR procedure at the hospital the month before. James went in for the surgical procedure on Friday, May 13, and the newly assembled TAVR team, representing the cardiac catheterization lab, operating services, and anesthesia department, worked together seamlessly to replace James’ valve in less than an hour.

“The patients we treat at Methodist deserve access to the best technology our industry has to offer,” says Dr. Horne.

“This technology both saves and changes lives by keeping families and communities together,” Dr. Horne explains. “Dr. Jay and I appreciate and are grateful for Dr. Manzori’s collaboration; this was an excellent example of teamwork for the best patient care and outcome.”

The effect of that teamwork was not lost on Dr. Manzori.

“Dr. Horne sent me a picture of James sitting up eating lunch the next day,” Dr. Manzori says. “You cannot put a price tag on that.”

Now James, a father and grandfather, is undergoing cardiac rehabilitation and slowly regaining his strength and stamina. His wife is grateful to still have her husband — and for the care that made it possible.

“They saved his life twice at two different hospitals,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave Methodist Mansfield because we’d had such good care there, then we didn’t want to leave Methodist Dallas.”

From the winter 2016 edition of Shine magazine