“This is just like on television”
Brad Genovese, 43 of Tallmadge, was three minutes into his workout on the elliptical when this physically active owner of the Firehouse Grille & Pub began experiencing shortness of breath a little over two months ago. He decided to take a time-out and drove to his restaurant where he sat on a couch, waiting for things to get better.
Little did he know that with every beat of his heart, his coronary artery was becoming sealed by a blood clot that would eventually completely occlude and cut off circulation to part of his heart muscle. Instead of recovering, Genovese became dizzy and had to call his 16-year-old son for help.
“In hindsight, I should have called an ambulance right away,” said Genovese, which is what doctors recommend in this situation. “But I really didn’t know I was having a heart attack.”
Genovese’s son drove him to the Emergency Department at Summa St. Thomas Hospital where an EKG confirmed their fears. By this time, Genovese said his chest had become painfully tight, his arms were numb, and he was sweating and freezing cold at the same time.
“I was petrified,” he said. “I didn’t want my son to see me like that. I was pretty worried.”
Genovese was experiencing what doctors call an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, also called a STEMI or “the big one.”
He was transferred to Summa Akron City Hospital where a team rushed Genovese straight to the cardiac cath lab, where the blockage was opened, saving his life.
“I thought, ‘This is just like on television,’” Genovese said. “But my anxiety was gradually decreasing. The longer I was in the cath lab, the calmer I became.”
Genovese also received a stent from Daniel J. Newton, M.D., a member of Summa Cardiovascular Institute and Summa Physicians Inc. – Interventional Cardiology, who was on-call when Genovese’s emergency occurred.
“With any heart attack, the clock ticks very fast,” Dr. Newton said. “Without a great team, more heart muscle is lost with every minute that goes by.”
Within 38 minutes of entering the first hospital’s doors, Dr. Newton and the team at Summa had stopped Genovese’s heart attack. He was a survivor.
About 250,000 Americans suffer STEMI heart attacks each year, and the national standard for relieving this blockage is 90 minutes or less. Given that Genovese was transferred to a second Summa hospital with the seconds ticking by, it makes his 38-minute emergency story all the more impressive.
Today, Genovese, who has a family history of heart disease, is exercising again, minding his diet and taking prescribed medications. He completed several weeks of cardiac rehab at Summa Health System and is following up with his team of doctors.
Genovese’s heart also performed well during a recent stress test.
His advice for anyone who may have doubts about their own heart health?
“Don’t be afraid to go to the doctor,” Genovese said. “Just get checked out.”
For men and women interested in cardiovascular screenings in their community, Summa Health System is partnering with HealthFair to charter a mobile screening bus that will be visiting multiple northeast Ohio communities this summer. Visit us online to view a schedule of where the mobile screening bus will stop and to make an appointment.