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Listen to your heart

Innovative technology helps diagnose and treat
Guardsman’s heart pain
Jeffrey Newton was no stranger to heart problems, but this time felt different. So different, in fact, that Newton, 46, brushed off his symptoms at first. But when they lingered for a week, he called his doctor. It was definitely a good move on his part.

Using the new IVUS (Intravascular Ultrasound) technology at Sanford Health, Dr. Karthik Reddy found a potentially fatal blood clot in a blood vessel of Newton’s heart as well as blockage in the heart’s arteries.

IVUS improves doctors’ diagnostic capabilities and enhances treatment options, said Dr. Reddy, a Sanford Health cardiologist. IVUS allows doctors to see images inside the heart and peripheral arteries. Essentially, this technology gives doctors a 360-degree inside assessment of a patient’s blood vessels.

“When we did Mr. Newton’s angiogram, we found a hazy area,” Dr. Reddy said. “In the past, we couldn’t be sure what those areas were so we’d move ahead with treatment based on our best judgment. With IVUS, we are able to accurately diagnose the condition.”

Dr. Reddy removed the blood clot and placed three stents in Newton’s heart to restore adequate blood flow.

“With IVUS technology, we can actually measure the dimensions of the vessel and that helps us get the precise size and placement for the stent. That can help improve treatment outcomes,” Dr. Reddy said.

  Jeffrey Newton
National Guardsman Jeffrey Newton is learning to pay closer attention to his heart disease. His cardiologist recently diagnosed and treated a potentially fatal blood clot and blockage in Newton’s arteries using Sanford Health’s new IVUS imaging technology.

Doctors using IVUS technology begin by threading a tiny catheter into the patient’s coronary arteries. High frequency sound waves reflect off tissue or vessel walls, creating a cross-sectional image that supports precise measurements of the vessel dimensions. Doctors can see plaque, calcified lesions or deposits that may have built up inside the heart vessel. IVUS helps doctors assess the composition of the blockage and thus can help them design treatment options more definitively.

Dr. Karthik Reddy
Reddy, MD

  Newton, who has a strong family history of heart disease, said he’s thankful Sanford Health—with its board-certified cardiologists and advanced technologies—is there for him. Newton, who serves as personnel manager for the Army National Guard, endured his first heart attack at age 38 and a second one at 44.

He says he should have responded to his body’s warnings earlier. But his first two heart attacks were definitive. These symptoms were more elusive. “Both those times, I was under exertion and I had terrible chest pain,” he said. “I was sweating, I couldn’t breathe, my face and arm hurt, all common symptoms.

“The first heart attack caught me by surprise because I was so young. But the second time, I recognized it right away. Then this time, it was more of a burning sensation and it usually

came on when I was resting or sleeping during the night. I had some pain in my biceps area but I had full motion in the arm. I knew something wasn’t right but I just didn’t know what it was.”

IVUS helped pinpoint the problem quickly. Thanks to Dr. Reddy’s expertise and the care Newton received at Sanford Health, Newton is feeling good and is back on the job for the Army National Guard. Stress is a given in his job, he said, but he’s learned to incorporate stress management techniques into his workday.

“I thought I was invincible, too young for this to control my life,” he said. “I’ve learned differently and have had to change the way I’ve been living my life, such as eating healthier and exercising.”

Newton’s lifestyle changes should help him avoid future emergency room visits, but he knows, too, how important it is to trust what his body is telling him. And then to reach out for help—before it’s too late.

Click here for more information on Sanford Cardiology or call (701) 323-5202.


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