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Avera Medical Minute: Heart patient at the right place at the right time

 Kelly Wick had emergency bypass surgery
Kelly Wick had emergency bypass surgery (KSFY)
Published: May. 27, 2020 at 11:12 PM CDT
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Kelly Wick knows he was at the right place at the right time when his heart quit beating.

"They call me the miracle patient," said Wick.

His journey started when he decided to ask his doctor about feeling out of breath and another symptom. "It wasn't real bad, I just felt like my lungs were burning," said Wick.

He was treated for a-fib at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton and after a concerning stress test, Kelly was booked for an angiogram at North Central Heart Institute in Sioux Falls.

"I guess they did get a couple of pictures and then I coded," said Wick.

His heart had completely stopped beating during the angiogram

"They say when I coded I sat straight up," said Wick.

The next thing Kelly knew, he was waking up to a voice asking him questions.

"Squeeze my hands and can you move your feet. And then, then I kind of woke up and I see my wife said what happened," said Wick.

Kelly doesn't remember the three days he was unconscious but Cardiovascular Surgeon Dr. Meghana Helder remembers it all.

"They asked me to come over right away and as I went over they were doing actively doing CPR on the bed, doing CPR while we're rolling the bed, the operating room was set up and ready to go," said Doctor Helder.

The emergency bypass surgery saved his life. Kelly was at the right place at the right time.

"Two bypasses in order to get blood flow past that obstruction just like a bypass on a road," said Doctor Helder.

The concern was the time he could have been without oxygen, and how it affected his body. His wife waited while he was in a coma.

"He woke up, just to save smiling self as his wife said and he really had no, what we call end-organ damage so his kidneys were were fine and everything else was working just fine," said Doctor Helder.

Dr. Helder says the sooner you come in when something's wrong, the better.

"Listening to your body and if there's warning signs really coming to get them checked out. I would rather have multiple people come into the emergency department get sent home because it's reflux than the other way around," said Doctor Helder.

Dr. Helder says in Kelly's situation, there was a 50-50 chance of survival.

"He really beat the odds and walking out of this hospital," said Doctor Helder.

A few months later, Kelly has rebounded, with the help of cardiac rehab, and a change in diet and exercise.

"I feel great now," said Wick. "I owe my life to the Heart Hospital."

It's more than the surgeons at North Central Heart Institute, Dr. Helder says it's the entire team.

"Everybody that does this doesn't view it as a job. They really view it as, as a calling," said Doctor Helder.

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