Saved by a Stress Test

Margaret Jones has a very healthy lifestyle. She eats right, doesn’t smoke, and exercises at the gym multiple times a week. And yet, when she went for a stress test at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in 2014, it was discovered her arteries had a 90 percent blockage.
Despite feeling fine and having no pain at all, Jones was rushed by ambulance to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital where John Parker Gott, M.D. performed open heart surgery.
“With the type of blockage that Margaret had, she shouldn’t have even been able to go on the treadmill for the stress test,” said Dr. Bukola Olubi. “More than half of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Just because a woman feels fine doesn’t mean she isn’t at risk for heart disease. This is the reason we encourage women to get screened for heart disease because getting regular checkups can be lifesaving.”
Jones was up and walking without a walker the day after surgery and went home within a few days. She participated in the cardiac rehab program at Piedmont Fayette and returned to work nine weeks after surgery.
“I was a little anxious when I first started the rehab program, but I knew the importance of exercise,” said Jones. “My exercise regimen prior to the blockage being detected probably kept me from having a heart attack.”
While lifestyle choices can play a role in whether or not a person suffers from heart disease, the most significant factor is often genetics. Both of Jones’ parents died from heart disease, putting her at a higher risk.
“If you have a history of heart disease in your family, it is important to have a screening or a stress test done,” said Dr. Olubi. “If we can catch a problem early, we can treat it.”
Two years later, Jones is doing well and continues to eat healthy, exercise regularly and take her medicine, checking in with Dr. Olubi every few months.
“I’m glad I had the stress test and grateful for the quick response from the nurses and doctors at Piedmont Fayette and Atlanta,” said Jones.
For more information on heart screenings, visit piedmont.org/womensheart.

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