Patient Stories

I had no symptoms: How a heart scan saved my life…

Hello, my name is Karen Richert.  If you have ever visited the cafeteria at IMH during the day, there is a good possibility we’ve met.

I love my job in the cafeteria at IMH. I love my sister. And, of course, I love my grandsons. I am able to say that today, because having a heart scan at IMH saved my life. Literally!

12-08-2017 Karen Richert Superstar
Karen Richert

Every February, IMH offers a discounted heart scan that detects the amount of calcium build-up in the arteries of the heart.  February 2017 was no different.  Except several of my co-workers from medical imaging and the lab kept urging me to get a scan, even though I didn’t think I had any signs of heart issues. Sure, I was short of breath at times, but that was something I felt I could justify for what I was doing at the time.  After enough of my friends and coworkers constant urging, I decided they were just concerned for me. So, I scheduled my heart scan.    

The heart scan was the easiest health screen I have ever had.  I showed up wearing loose clothing.  All I had to do was lay down on the 160 Slice CT bed.  There were no needles and I didn’t even need to get undressed. Ten minutes later, the screen was done and I was on my way back home.

I was told that if my calcium score was under 100, I wouldn’t have to worry.  The very next day, I was told I needed to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reddy, Cardiologist on staff at IMH. My score was 1,288!  

The day of my appointment with Dr. Reddy was like any other day. I was walking to work but, I just felt like something was wrong.  Rather than going to work at the IMH Cafeteria, I went to the IMH Emergency Department.  After some monitoring, I started feeling better and was discharged. Later that day, I saw Dr. Reddy and, after reviewing my medical record, he decided that the best course of action was to do an Angioplasty. He explained that Angioplasty involves inserting a balloon into the artery to open it up.

Unfortunately, Dr. Reddy does not do Cardiac Angioplasty procedures at IMH.  He does them at Presence Covenant in Urbana.  The day of the procedure, I met with Dr. Reddy and the Covenant staff as they went over the procedure with me.  Dr. Reddy would insert a line with a balloon and open the artery that was partially clogged. And, I would be awake for the entire procedure!

I remember Dr. Reddy talking me through the procedure as he worked. I was doing ok until he told the nurse to get the other doctor stat! Then, I became scared.  What Dr. Reddy had found was not going to be repaired with a balloon. Instead of a partial clogged artery, he found I had two arteries clogged at 100%.  An Angioplasty cannot fix clogs that severe, so I had to have two stents put in to open the arteries.

After a short rehab at home, I was able to return to work. Because of the IMH heart scan and the “harassment” from people just wanted to make sure I was well, today,  I am able to still joke and have fun with my co-workers at IMH. I am able to tell my sister I love her. I am able hug my grandsons and watch them grow.

Karen serving with a smile at the IMH Employee Christmas Dinner 2017

Take my advice, don’t miss out on hugs from your loved ones. Even if you don’t feel like you have any symptoms of heart issues, have the $49 heart scan at IMH.  Scheduling is simple, just call 815.432.7733.


Leave a Reply