Heart attack survivor thanks medical professionals for saving her life

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – A Pontotoc woman is grateful for the swift actions of the medical professionals at North Mississippi Medical Center.

When Sarah Reynolds had a heart attack, cardiologists were able to use a new temporary heart pump for the first time in this region, and help her get on the road to recovery.

It was a reunion Reynolds had been looking forward to since November.

The 37-year-old is a nurse and in early November, she began experiencing fatigue, coughing, and swelling in her face. On November 2, while at work she began having chest pain.

“Had a doctor say, you need to go to the ER, I did, they did EKG, everything looked fine, pain kept coming and going, put heart monitors on and realized I was having a heart attack,” said Reynolds.

She was transferred to NMMC in Tupelo where additional tests revealed Reynolds also had a torn blood vessel, which meant a stent or bypass was out of the question. So cardiologists decided to use a temporary heart pump called the Impella 5.5.

The device allows the heart to rest, and recover as it supplies blood and oxygen to the patient’s other vital organs.

“We needed a device which would totally offload her heart, whereas the other devices somewhat partially do it, this completely unloads the heart. So for this reason we put this bigger device, it is sewn in, allows the heart to completely rest, patients who have weak hearts or need transplants, are candidates for this sort of device,” said Dr. Vishal Sachdev.

Reynolds had the Impella working for her heart for about a week.

“She was able to get cardiac rehab, walk around, was able to do all those things in rehab and recovery while she didn’t have to overstrain her heart,” said Dr. Michael Boler.

During a ceremony in the lobby of NMMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute, Reynolds was able to celebrate with those who helped save her life.

“Thank you, there are no words to tell you how grateful I am,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds is leading a normal life, back on the job helping care for others, and also making every moment count with her family.

“My patients are glad to see me as I am them. Able to be a momma to my three kids, loving sister to my siblings, very blessed to be here,” said Reynolds.

Heart attack symptoms for women can be different than men and can include nausea, stomach pain, shortness of breath, and others that aren’t classic symptoms. Reynolds encouraged women to go to the doctor if they have any of the symptoms, no matter their age. It could be a lifesaver.

February is National Heart Health Month.

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