After working all day, Agustin Acosta, 40, was at home when he broke out into a cold sweat, was unable to move, and began experiencing chest pain. He called out to his wife, who dialed 9-1-1. Within a half hour, he was in the hands of Cardiologist Luis Padula, MD, and the team at South Texas Health System Heart.
“I never thought it would happen to me. I didn’t pay attention to it,” says Acosta. “I should have seen the signs. I thought I was going to die. Thank God I’m still here. When I arrived at the hospital, the doctors and nurses were waiting for me. I was scared because they were moving very fast, doing everything possible to save me," he says.
A Record "Door-to-Balloon" Procedure
Dr. Padula says Acosta arrived at the hospital in the midst of a heart attack. “We took Mr. Acosta to the cardiac catheterization suite for a diagnostic angiogram. This allowed us to identify which of the three arteries was closed, and we immediately proceeded with a balloon angioplasty to open the blockage and reestablish blood flow,” he says. As a result of their efforts, the team completed the procedure in 16 minutes – a record time for the hospital.
Dr. Padula explains that as a team, their work has to be synchronized. “Every person on the team knows what they have to do,” he says. “I look at every case when we are finished to see if there was anything more we could have done to decrease the time it takes. The short door-to-balloon times means more lives saved, and a better quality of life after a heart attack. It makes all the difference in the world.”
The next day, Acosta shared his advice about surviving a heart attack. “People need to educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. It happened to me and then everything went so fast. I’m so grateful for everything the doctors and nurses did to save me!”