Hospital Saves Lives in Hudson County
(Jersey City, N.J.) –Nationally, 1.1 million people have heart attacks each year and almost half of them die, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. While heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, Christopher Pierro, a 35-year-old North Bergen resident, attributes being alive today because of a lifesaving emergency angioplasty he received by board certified emergency physicians and interventional cardiologists at Christ Hospital.
Photo Caption: Raashan C. Williams, M.D., FACC, Medical Director of Christ Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, specializes in complex coronary interventions, peripheral vascular interventions and was instrumental in the initial start up of the hospital’s primary angioplasty program.
“Had I waited just 30 more minutes before getting to the emergency room, I could have died.” That’s what Pierro says while recalling the heart attack he had on Thursday, October 1. The 30 minutes Pierro refers to is the time he had left within the 90 minute “window” during which emergency angioplasty is thought to have an edge over clot-busting drugs. Pierro’s procedure was performed by Christ Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Medical Director Dr. Raashan Williams.
“Emergency angioplasty is a lifesaving procedure that increases the flow of blood and oxygen through blocked arteries without the need for invasive heart surgery. By quickly locating and treating the site of the blockage, emergency angioplasty reduces the damage to heart muscle and helps the heart function better in the future,” Dr. Williams explains.
A carpenter by trade, Pierro’s experience began while installing sheetrock in a friend’s garage. “I felt a little twinge around 10 a.m., but it went away. By 3 o’clock, I experienced a major discomfort in my chest and knew something was wrong.” Shortly thereafter, Pierro made it into Christ Hospital’s emergency department where nurses immediately gave him an electrocardiogram. “The next thing I know, I met Dr. Raashan Williams and he explained that I had a heart attack. I was wheeled into surgery and within an hour and a half was in recovery.” Dr. Williams was forced to perform an emergency angioplasty to restore blood flow to Pierro’s heart. “A heart attack usually develops over several hours as the arteries narrow the blood flow to the heart. If a person is treated during the first 90 minutes after the actual attack, early treatments can improve outcomes. After that, the longer that vessel is blocked, the more heart muscle is destroyed,” says Dr. Williams.
Pierro had three clogged arteries. The main artery was completely blocked with a secondary clogged at nearly 80%. “As a result of the angioplasty and a follow-up procedure, his arteries are completely open with no permanent damage to the muscle,” Dr. Williams notes.
“Besides taking a few medications to manage my condition, I’m a lucky man with a new lease on life,” says Pierro. In addition to his medicines, Pierro vows to improve his health by changing both his diet and lifestyle. “Thank God Christ Hospital offers this program, if they hadn’t, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here today.”
About Christ Hospital
Christ Hospital is a 381-bed acute care facility located in Jersey City, New Jersey serving the healthcare needs of Hudson County residents since it first opened its doors nearly 140 years ago. A modern, state-of-the-art facility, Christ Hospital offers a broad range of services from primary angioplasty for cardiac patients to intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for those battling cancer. The medical staff at Christ Hospital includes over 500 physicians, most of whom are board-certified in specialties ranging from allergies to vascular surgery. For more information, please visit the hospital’s website at www.christhospital.org.