Paul Parrish is Living proof that Time is of the Essence in Heart Attack Treatment

May 9, 2011

On October 31, 2010, Paul Parrish was hanging drywall at his daughter’s house when he started to feel a strange pain in his chest, and wondered if all the heavy lifting he was doing had caused him to pull something. As he stepped outside to get some fresh air, the pain intensified and he also began to feel short of breath and nauseated.

Never Hesitate. Always Call 9-1-1.

Paul Parrish and Karen Yeager

Paul Parrish and his sister, Karen Yeager, RN

Paul explained what happened next, “I’d had a heart attack just over a year earlier, over Labor Day weekend, 2009. Even though my symptoms weren’t the same as before, something about what was happening just reminded me of my first heart attack. I had made the mistake of thinking I was invincible the first time around, and waited too long before going to the hospital. I was determined not to make the same mistake twice, so I called my daughter, which in hindsight wasn’t the best decision, because I think I about scared her to death! Then I called my sister Karen, who is a registered nurse. She was the one who convinced me to go to the hospital after my first heart attack, and she saved me this time too. She realized right away what was happening and called 9-1-1.

Karen, who happens to be director of Critical Care and Cardiac Intermediate Services at Floyd Memorial, elaborated. “I love my brother dearly, but he definitely falls in the “tough guy” category. Like too many other men, he tends to think he’s invincible, and can manage things on his own without help from others. But that is never a wise approach when it comes to your health. I’ve seen too many cases of people who waited too long to ask for help, and I wasn’t going to let my brother be one of those.”

An Outstanding Result

John Petrey, MD, the emergency medicine physician who handled Paul’s case, was the first physician to see Paul when he arrived at the Floyd Memorial Emergency Center. “Paul was fortunate enough to be on an ambulance equipped with a mobile EKG unit, so we already knew a heart attack was in progress and had begun to mobilize our response team before he even arrived. This allowed us to get him into the cardiac catheterization lab to open up the artery as quickly as possible.”

S. Manchi
“Paul did all the right things this time around. He learned from the mistakes of his first heart attack, and immediately recognized his symptoms for exactly what they were. He now takes his health more seriously and isn’t afraid to seek help when he needs it. I’m very proud of his progress.” 

Srini Manchi, MD
Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist
Cardiovascular Associates of Southern Indiana

F. Steven
“Eighty percent of the damage done to the heart muscle during a heart attack occurs in the first 60 minutes. This is why it’s so important to immediately call 9-1-1 at the first sign of symptoms.” 

Steven Filardo, MD, MPH, FACC
Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist
Preferred Cardiology of Kentuckiana

“There were a multitude of factors working in Paul’s favor on the day of his heart attack, but what ultimately saved his life was that he recognized his symptoms and acted quickly. When it could potentially be a heart attack, the “wait and see” approach is never wise.” 

John Petrey, MD
Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician
Floyd Memorial Emergency Center

Steven Filardo, MD, MPH, was the interventional cardiologist on call at the time. “We were able to achieve a 57 minute door to-balloon time in Paul’s case, which means that only 57 minutes elapsed from the time he entered the Emergency Center to the time we were able to open his artery and stop the heart attack in the cath lab. The American Heart Association recommends a national goal of 90 minutes or less, but 60 minutes is truly the gold standard, which is what we’ve been striving towards here at Floyd Memorial. It’s an outstanding result that we’re definitely proud of and hope to repeat many times in the future.”

Time is Muscle

Srini Manchi, MD, Paul’s cardiologist, explained why the issue of time is so important when it comes to heart attacks. “The motto for our door-to-balloon team is “time is muscle.” By this we mean that the more time that elapses during a heart attack, the more heart muscle that is irreversibly damaged. In Paul’s case, the extraordinarily quick response on the part of himself, his sister and the response team means that as long as he continues to take his medications and engage in a healthy lifestyle, his long-term prognosis is excellent. He is definitely a lucky man.”

Call 9-1-1 at the First Sign of a Heart Attack

  • Indigestion or gas-like pain
  • Chest discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weakness or fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Pain spreading to the jaw, neck, shoulders or arm
  • Discomfort or pain between the shoulder blades
  • Sense of impending doom

Free Take 2 for Heart & Stroke Screenings
Thursdays, May 19, June 2, July 7 and August 4, by appointment
Floyd Memorial offers free oneon-one screenings with a cardiac nurse, including a full lipid cholesterol panel, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index. For an appointment, call 1-800-4-SOURCE or register online at www.floydmemorial.com.