BEV STANION - Advice from a Survivor
WakeMed Occupational Therapist Bev Stanion was exhausted. After a long day of treating patients followed by staying late to finish paperwork, it was time to go home. Even the walk to the parking deck was tiring. “It was odd because I had to stop a few times to catch my breath.”
When she got to the fourth floor, Bev started having chest pains. “I was terrified,” she says.
Bev got to her car and called 911 – the right thing to do. Emergency medical services came to her aid and rushed her to the Emergency Department. “My blood work showed that I’d had a heart attack,” says Bev.
Bev’s next stop was the cardiovascular intensive care unit, where she was prepared for a heart catheterization. Longtime interventional cardiologist John Sinden, MD, from WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians performed Bev’s catheterization, but her blockage was much too severe for a simple stent. “He told me I needed a coronary artery bypass graft procedure,” says Bev. The next night at 8 p.m., Bryon Boulton, MD, FACS, a cardiothoracic surgeon with WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians, successfully performed her open heart procedure.
Though Bev’s surgery went well, her cardiologist, Senthil Sundaram, MD, also from WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians, was concerned about her weakened heart. He fitted her with a ZOLL® LifeVest® wearable heart monitor and automatic defibrillator, which delivers a lifesaving shock when it detects an abnormal heart rhythm.
“The LifeVest has given my heart time to heal after surgery while still providing lifesaving protection,” says Bev.
With her heart surgery behind her, Bev has a new outlook on the importance of caring for herself. “My advice to other women is to…talk about your risk factors with your primary care physician. And if you don’t feel well, don’t try to rationalize it or brush off your symptoms. Women are very in tune with their bodies, so it’s up to us to be proactive and to take our health seriously. We owe it to ourselves and to the people who love us.”