Michael Casey

Heart Care Patient Story: Michael Casey

Heart Attack Prevented by Cardiac Catheterization

When the occasional chest pains started, Michael Casey assumed it was just muscle strain.

After all, the 43-year-old airline customer service agent lifts heavy luggage every day and enjoys playing sports with his children and nephews, so he's no stranger to sore muscles.

But one day the chest pain wouldn't go away, and Casey went to the emergency room at Southern Regional Medical Center. Doctors recognized that Casey's cardiac enzymes were elevated, suggesting the potential for a heart attack. So they quickly ushered him into Southern Regional's Heart & Vascular Care Center.

Stunning Discovery

Dr. Chituru Adele, an interventional cardiologist, performed a cardiac catheterization (also known as a cardiac cath) to determine how well his heart was working and whether his arteries were blocked. Southern Regional is the only hospital in south metro Atlanta that can perform this life-saving procedure.

During the procedure, Dr. Adele discovered that his right coronary artery was 90 percent blocked. If the blockage had increased to 100 percent, Casey likely would have had a major heart attack that could have caused permanent damage to his heart muscle. This is why it's so important to quickly identify and treat blockages through cardiac catheterization.

Once Dr. Adele discovered the blockage, he immediately performed an emergency angioplasty to open the blocked artery. He inserted a balloon and a wire mesh tube called a stent, both of which hold the artery open to relieve the blockage.

Life-saving Procedure in Minutes

It all happened so fast that Casey could barely believe it.

"After they found the blockage, it was maybe 15 minutes and it was all done," Casey says. "I was a little nervous about the whole thing, but the nurses told me there was nothing to be afraid of-these are procedures they do just about every day."

In fact, Southern Regional's Heart & Vascular Care Center performs more than 1,600 cardiac catheterizations and 250 angioplasties every year, in addition to a full spectrum of other procedures.

A center of excellence in the community since 1971 and an accredited chest pain center, the Heart & Vascular Care Center performs more heart and vascular care services than any other hospital in south metro Atlanta.

Robust Recovery

Casey's procedure was a complete success. He remained in the hospital for only two days following the angioplasty, and then returned for follow-up visits. Today, he is back to all of his normal activities with a clean bill of heart health. And he feels better than ever.

"I can breathe better and feel a whole lot better than I did before," he says. "I was even having trouble throwing the football with my son before the surgery, but now I'm able to throw a lot farther than I could."

Casey, who lives in Clayton County, has lots of motivation to stay healthy.

"I love my family so much," says Casey.

The most important thing for him was being able to come to his family, which includes his wife, Gloria, a son and a daughter, as well as two nephews he's helping to raise.

"Everybody at the hospital kept me and my wife informed of what was going on every step of the way," Casey says. "They took really good care of me and I'm so grateful."