Monica Krachman of Tyler

Monica Krachman of Tyler began feeling the symptoms of a heart attack at about 5:15 p.m., and her husband called for an ambulance. By 7:30 p.m. she was in the ICU at ETMC Tyler, recovering from surgery to unblock an artery to her heart. By 9:00 p.m. she was enjoying a heart-healthy turkey sandwich with her husband.

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It was Oct. 28, and Krachman said she was just finishing putting away decorations for the Jewish holidays and bringing out decorations for Halloween. The first symptom was pain in her jaw, quickly followed by pain in her shoulder and wrist, a feeling she might throw up, numbness, chest pain and extreme sweating. She was on the floor of the bathroom when her husband called 911.

When the ambulance arrived, the emergency medical technicians from ETMC were at first skeptical that an otherwise healthy 45-year-old woman was really having a heart attack. But they ran an EKG in the ambulance, saw the evidence of cardiac problems, and transmitted it to the hospital while en route.

“When I got to the hospital the cardiologist and the cath lab were both waiting for me,” Krachman said. “They gave me some pain meds but I was wide awake during the procedure. I even joked with the surgeon about my possibly having not prayed hard enough on Yom Kippur.”

No joking matter

But it was no joking matter, she said later. She had a 100 percent blockage in her right coronary artery.

Krachman received successful treatment to unblock her artery within 46 minutes of entering ETMC Tyler. That’s well within the national “hospital door to intervention” goal of 90 minutes for treatment of heart attacks.

“Had it happened in another location or when I was alone or even if it were just me at home with the kids, I could have died,” she said. “I certainly would not have been able to call 911 on my own – I was on the floor and there was not a phone near me.”

Full recovery from heart attack at age 45

She’s proud of the medical care available just minutes from her home at ETMC Tyler.

“We have amazing top-notch medical care,” she said. “A whole chain reaction starts when there is a heart attack, and the hospital prides itself on the response time during those critical first few hours.” Krachman said her father had blockage in the same artery when he was 45, and she has urged her brother and sister to be tested for similar potential problems. Her own follow-up tests have been encouraging.

“While I did have a heart attack,” she said, “as of now it appears that there is no permanent damage to my heart.”

Return to the ETMC Cardiovascular Institute page.