Cardiac Emergency in the Heart of the UP | John's Story
August 18, 2022
A heart attack can happen anywhere and at any moment. For John Keuvelaar, that moment came while visiting a popular Upper Peninsula waterfall — hundreds of miles from home. John and his son, John Jr., were photographing Fall colors at Wagner Falls when suddenly, John felt that something was off.
“I had tremendous pain across my chest, and I couldn’t catch my breath,” said John. John Jr. immediately called 911 and soon was following the ambulance that was transporting his father to the Cath Lab at UP Health System – Marquette.
The Heart & Vascular Center at UP Health System – Marquette, a Duke Health Affiliate, is a nationally-recognized Cath Lab with PCI and Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI by ACC Accreditation Services, the accrediting arm of the American College of Cardiology. The procedure that was used to treat John’s heart attack is known as Angioplasty, or PCI, a minimally invasive procedure used to widen narrowed arteries of the heart without surgery.
“When I arrived, the emergency staff and the providers in the Cath Lab were already there waiting for me. Before I knew it, the procedure was over, and I was on my way to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for recovery," said John.
After a short stay in the ICU, John was able to be discharged to enjoy what remained of his UP trip alongside his family. Since this visit to the Cath Lab, John has been doing well. He's been attending a cardiac rehab program near his home, losing weight, and controlling his diabetes and blood glucose levels. This past July, they were able to return once again to spend time together outdoors — camping and photographing with the two family dogs.
John didn't count on a heart attack interrupting his UP road trip, but he could count on the first responders and staff at UP Health System to provide effective treatment and save his life.
“I want to thank the team of professionals who acted so quickly. I know that I can count on the healthcare professionals in the Upper Peninsula,” said John.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack, according to the CDC. While John’s symptoms came on quickly, many heart attacks start less noticeably, with mild pain or discomfort at first. Learning to identify the early signs of a heart attack can save lives.
In addition to heart attack care, the Heart & Vascular Center offers a wide range of cardiovascular services including general cardiology, diagnostic testing, diagnostic and interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, cardiac rehabilitation, and cardiothoracic surgery — including open-heart. As a Duke Health Affiliate for Heart & Vascular care, UP Health System – Marquette collaborates with the Duke Heart Network to optimize patient outcomes, promote evidence-based medicine, improve community health, and facilitate access to clinical research.
For more information on UP Health System – Marquette’s heart and vascular services or to take a free heart health assessment, visit UPHealthSystem.com/Heart.