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Fairmount Man Benefits From Gordon Hospital's Cath Lab

Robert Simeon was proud of the fact that he had never in his life been a patient in a hospital.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with family in and out of the hospital,” said the 54-year-old construction worker. “But I’ve been real fortunate. I’d never really had any physical problems.”

But that all changed a few weeks ago. He and his wife Georgia were working in their vegetable garden at their Fairmount home, when suddenly he began hurting in his middle back area.

“My arm went numb,” he said, “and then my chest started hurting.”

His wife begged him to let her take him to a hospital, but he kept resisting.

“After she threatened to call an ambulance, I finally decided to go,” the grandfather of five said. “My wife’s mother uses Gordon Hospital, so that’s why I decided to go there.”

After being examined at Gordon Hospital’s Emergency Center, Simeon was admitted into the hospital, where he spent the next three days undergoing a battery of tests to determine the cause of his pain.

“I was scared to death because I’ve never been in the hospital,” he said. “But I was treated just great. The room was terrific and everyone I met was so kind.”

Ultimately, it was in Gordon Hospital’s new high-tech diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization laboratory (Cath Lab) that revealed the answers to Simeon’s problems. Fortunately for him, the Cath Lab had just opened at Gordon Hospital, alleviating the need for him to be transferred to an out-of-town medical facility for the test.

Gordon Hospital’s Cath Lab uses the latest technology and advanced clinical procedures to diagnose blockages and the narrowing of arteries; evaluate the pumping ability of the heart and the function of heart valves; and measure internal pressures within the heart.

Coronary angiogram or cardiac catheterization is an X-ray test used to determine the condition of the heart and the coronary arteries. A cardiologist performs this test using a small catheter, which is inserted through an artery and is advanced through the blood vessels and into the heart. A dye is then injected through the catheter to help the cardiologist visualize a moving picture of blood flow through the coronary arteries while taking X-rays.

“This procedure enables physicians to find possible blockages from blood clots or plaque build-up, which can cause a heart attack,” says Raina Sanford, director of radiology at Gordon Hospital. “Results from cardiac catheterization help cardiologists determine whether treatment with bypass surgery or another type of intervention is necessary.”

To make this and other catheterization procedures as beneficial as possible, new technology has been implemented at Gordon Hospital. An integral component of the Cath Lab is having the latest interventional X-ray technology — Siemens Artis Zee®. In fact, Gordon Hospital is the first hospital in North Georgia to offer patients access to this state-of-the-art equipment.

“Our new X-ray system offers an array of benefits for patients, as well as physicians,” says Sanford. “The advanced image quality for cardiac procedures allows physicians to get a faster, clearer picture than ever before and can diagnose and treat their patients promptly with greater confidence.”

In addition, the patient’s experience during the procedure is more comfortable because the X-ray equipment features a Tempur-Pedic® mattress top—comparable to what you might find in a five-star hotel — with no table-weight limitations.

While older equipment unnecessarily exposed patients to radiation during X-ray tests, this equipment is radiation-free during positioning.

“One of the goals of this advanced technology is to continue to limit the necessary dose of X-ray exposure,” says Sanford. “Our machine has the lowest dose of X-ray exposure in North Georgia, which ensures we are offering patients the highest level of safety.”

As the technology for cardiac care continues to advance, the equipment within the Cath Lab can easily be updated to the meet the needs of patients.

“The system’s modular design makes upgrades easy and affordable,” says Sanford. “This means that Gordon Hospital can remain on the cutting edge of the technology curve due to the expansive upgrade path of this system. The community we serve can be confident in our commitment to remain on the forefront of cardiac medicine.”

Simeon learned following his cardiac catheterization at Gordon Hospital that he had a 30 percent blockage in one of his arteries. His doctor also informed him that he had indeed suffered a heart attack.

“I was real fortunate,” he said. “I didn’t need stints, or surgery or anything.”

He has since kicked a 40-year, four-pack-a-day cigarette habit, and is trying to lose a little weight, which he admits is the hardest part of his new lifestyle.

“I’m learning about what I can and can’t eat, and my oldest granddaughter won’t let me eat anything fried,” Simeon said, grinning. “But through it all I was very pleased with my experience at Gordon Hospital. Everybody was very kind to me and I believe a lot of it is because it’s a religious-based hospital. I’m just really thankful.”