The time came for Lori to find a new primary care physician when her previous doctor retired, so she found Dr. Geno Pavlick and set up an initial appointment. To get a sense of where Lori’s health stood, Dr. Pavlick wanted to get a baseline measurement for a stress test. But Lori’s insurance denied coverage, and she went a year without getting the test. This past spring, Lori went to see Dr. Pavlick for her annual physical, and he insisted on the test again given Lori’s family history of heart failure. This time, her insurance approved coverage and she got the test – which may have saved her life.
The test showed that one side of Lori’s heart wasn’t beating hard enough, so Dr. Pavlick sent her to see cardiologist Dr. Aashisha Dua to get a better sense of what was going on. Because of Lori’s family history, he recommended a heart catheterization to help correct the issue. In surgery, doctors made a startling discovery: two of Lori’s arteries were blocked 80% and 90%. They immediately put in stents using a minimally invasive method that left just a tiny mark Lori says resembles a freckle on her wrist.
“I’m grateful my PCP pushed for the testing, or I might have had a heart attack. I was only in the hospital for 24 hours on a Friday, rested over the weekend, and was back at work on Monday. It felt like nothing happened; I was just a little tired, but I could continue normal life right away. It’s amazing that the technology exists like this. Other family members were out for six weeks with more invasive procedures.”
Lori is working on improving her odds at staying ahead of her family heart issues by improving her exercise and diet. Lately she’s been reading about some plant-based diets, and is interested to explore what they do.