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South Florida Baptist Hospital Expands Heart Care Services
The work week was coming to an end. Fri., Aug. 16 began like any other work day for Plant City resident Yvonne Long, except that she had to stop by the grocery store on her way to work to pick up items for an office celebration. While she was there, she bought some seafood salad for herself. Later in the morning, after Long ate the salad, she began to have trouble breathing and her tongue swelled. She assumed she was having an allergic reaction to the seafood. She went home, took some allergy medicine and waited about an hour. When that didn’t help, Long’s daughter insisted she go to South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Emergency Room.

Once at the hospital, Ghazanfar Khadim, M.D., interventional cardiologist at the hospital’s Evelyn and Batista Madonia, Sr. Heart and Vascular Center, determined that Long had more than an 80 percent blockage in one of her arteries. He scheduled her for a procedure the next day.

Angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked or narrowed coronary (heart) arteries. A stent (a wire mesh tube) also may be placed in the blocked area and is left in place to help keep the artery open. The procedure improves blood flow to the heart muscle.

Hospitals are required to meet strict criteria in order to receive approval to provide coronary angioplasty and stenting. Oftentimes, this process takes years. However, South Florida Baptist Hospital met the State’s criteria in just nine months. Subsequently, the Heart and Vascular Center was approved by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, and the first coronary angioplasty and stent procedure was performed on Aug. 10.

“This is great news for Plant City residents,” said South Florida Baptist Hospital COO Steve Nierman. “When you’re having a heart attack, time is muscle, and every second counts.” Patients can improve their odds of getting prompt treatment by getting to the hospital as quickly as possible, if they suspect a heart attack. “Now that this treatment is available in their own community, Plant City residents can reduce their risks since they won’t have to travel out of town,” Nierman added. Long can attest to that. She was one of the first patients to undergo a coronary angioplasty and stent procedure at SFBH’s Heart and Vascular Center.

“I’m so glad I was close and got right there,” Long said about her proximity to South Florida Baptist Hospital. “They were awesome and very thorough. I trusted Dr. Khadim,” Long said. “He explained the procedure, said he would implant a drug-eluting stent and told me everything would be fine.” And it was. “The next thing I knew, they wheeled me into recovery.” She went home the following day. “I’m glad they could do it right there and didn’t have to send me somewhere else.”

Long’s story is similar to a lot of women’s. They don’t experience the type of symptoms normally associated with a heart attack. Research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that women often experience new or different physical symptoms as
long as a month or more before experiencing heart attacks. The symptoms most commonly reported are unusual fatigue, sleep disturbance and shortness of breath. Many women never have chest pains or discomfort prior to or during their heart attacks.

Long will be making some lifestyle changes and Dr. Khadim will keep an eye on her other coronary arteries. For now, “I’m feeling fine,” she affirmed. But if she does need another stent, she knows where she will go – close to home, South Florida Baptist
Hospital’s Evelyn and Batista Madonia, Sr. Heart and Vascular Center.

To find out if you are at risk for heart disease, take a free HeartAware Risk Assessment at For a physician referral, call (813) 644-6720.
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