Avera Medical Minute: Heart attack emergency care during the pandemic

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (DAKOTA NEWS NOW) - As a cashier at a local grocery store, Gleeann Shantz of Redfield was extra busy at the start of the pandemic, helping customers stock up.

Avera hospitals ready for other emergencies during the pandemic

"You're bagging, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars in groceries in three days, said Gleeann.

She thought a nagging pain in her shoulder was from lifting all those grocery bags. Her husband Paul remembers when her pain became unbearable.

"...says I need to see a doctor. Now," said Paul.

They drove to the Avera Clinic in Redfield, and barely made it in the door.

"...just went stiff as a board straight in the air, head went back, and she went right over backwards on her head," said Paul.

Avera Physician Dr. Kris Wren came running to help.

"And more than passing out. She was not breathing effectively and we really did think she had a heartbeat or pulse," said Dr. Wren.

After five attempts with a defibrillator, Gleeann's heartbeat returned.

"She was awake she was talking to us before she left which is awesome," said Dr. Wren.

But Gleeann needed more help.

"And they told me to head for Aberdeen, and she was going by chopper," said Paul.

"Having care flight take her was the best option for her. And that worked out really well," said Dr. Wren.

At Avera St. Lukes in Aberdeen, Dr. Susheel Gundewar and his team were waiting for her arrival.

"Time was of the essence. So we had to get her here as soon as possible get it into the cath lab as soon as possible," said Dr. Gundewar.

Tests revealed the problem

"Figure out what caused a cardiac arrest and fix it found that blockage when we did the angiogram, and we fixed it with a couple of stents to restore the blood flow to the heart muscle," said Dr. Gundewar.

Gleeann's recovery was remarkable.

"The next day she was actually walking in the hospital without any symptoms that she had been suffering for, for almost a month," said Dr. Gundewar.

Had Gleeann collapsed anywhere other than inside the clinic, she may not have survived. Even during a pandemic, Dr. Gundewar believes it's important to seek help as soon as you have symptoms.

"And not delay care because in this case, we were very fortunate, Gleeann was fortunate that she made it out alive, but like I said, more than 50% of the patients don't even make it to the hospital, let alone making the life," said Dr. Gundewar.

On the other side of this crisis, Gleeann's blood flows with the support of four stents.

"And to the staff in that donor and Aberdeen, Thank you seem so small," said Paul.

And a new focus is in sight.

"My flower beds will be the best in the country because I quit work, said Gleean.

"In many ways this is a second life for her so I think it's absolutely fitting that she wants to grow beautiful flowers in a garden so I'm very, very pleased," said Dr. Gundewar.