Avera Medical Minute: Cardiologist Celebrates 40 years at North Central Heart

Published: Aug. 30, 2020 at 10:58 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

It’s been four decades of heart procedures, saving many lives. That’s the legacy of Cardiologist Dr. Paul Carptener at North Central Heart.

“The Heart Hospital has been a great place to work. 40 years goes by very quickly. But when I think of what cardiology was like 40 years ago, versus now it’s light years difference,” said Dr. Carpenter.

Years ago when someone was having a heart attack, there were few options to help until it was over and then assess the damage. Now help can be in an instant at North Central Heart at The Avera Heart Hospital.

“We intervene on people having heart attacks. And so that made a huge difference in the amount of muscle we can salvage when people have heart attacks, reduce the death rate significantly,” said Carpenter.

Procedures are less invasive.

“Some of our valves we can do it percutaneously Now we can go through the artery and replace them well, rather than having to open their hearts, their chests out to fix their heart,” said Carpenter.

Cardiac procedures are serious work, but Carpenter has a sense of humor and practical jokes are his specialty, including a fake rat in a box of treats.

“A few screams with that yes, but if I bring in the donuts, can probably put something in the box and feel not guilty about doing that,” said Carpenter.

Patients are surprised how long he’s been in practice as he recalls things his patients have said.

“My relative saw your dad years ago and I say no, no, it was me,” said Carpenter.

As Doctor Carpenter transitions into semi-retirement, the connections mean more.

“The interaction with our patients and hearing their stories.

And besides, they sometimes laugh at my jokes that I, I tell, even though they’re not so good,” said Carpenter.

And those who have worked by his side.

“The people that we have the staff here have been tremendous. I think our patients will sing the praises of their care,” said Carpenter.

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