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Robyn’s Story: The Right Heart Care at the Right Time

Robyn's StoryRobyn Pierce did all the right things. As a nurse at Atrium Medical Center, she understood the value of making healthy lifestyle choices and implemented them in her own daily habits. She never drank, she never smoked, and she exercised regularly, which is what made her sudden symptoms seem so unusual when they arrived in September 2016.

“I was going to the gym every day with my daughter, where we would walk on the treadmill,” said Robyn. “One day, I became overwhelmed with fatigue and told her I needed to stop. I simply attributed everything to my age, because I was 67.”

Resting might have helped temporarily, but Robyn felt fatigued the next day along with an unusual tugging pain in her left shoulder and upper chest. She thought she had pulled a muscle and took Motrin before bed that night. The pain, however, was there when she woke the next morning. She drove to the store for more medicine. “Right before I pulled into the lot it hit me that I didn’t know where I was,” said Robyn. “I stopped the car, turned around, immediately came home, and called my daughter to ask if she could take me to the emergency room at Atrium Medical Center. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

The emergency department staff immediately took her blood pressure and administered an EKG despite her insistence that she was suffering from a pulled muscle. Though initially inconclusive, her blood pressure was extremely high and prompted her doctors to admit her for further testing and observation. She was given nitroglycerin to alleviate the growing pain in her chest.

“At Atrium, we carefully assign chest pain scores to patients that trigger specific protocols,” said Dr. John Miller, a Premier Health cardiothoracic surgeon. “If necessary, some may be admitted to receive a regimented process that evaluates, reassesses, and checks serial labs to determine if the patient is at higher risk for something more serious.”

Processes such as these have played a key role in helping Atrium achieve its recent designation as an Accredited Chest Pain Center through the American College of Cardiology. Robyn Pierce will tell you it was these established processes that ultimately saved her life. A cardiac catheterization revealed that though she had not had a heart attack, there were four major blockages that would require Dr. Miller to perform cardiac bypass surgery. Her procedure was a success and, remarkably, Robyn had no significant heart damage. She returned to work eight weeks after recovery. 

The right care at the right time might reduce or prevent permanent heart damage from a heart attack or other conditions, according to medical experts. “Unfortunately, we've all heard of scenarios where someone having chest pain has an emergency after getting sent home from the emergency room because their pain fades and EKG and lab work don’t look that bad,” said Dr. Miller. “Thankfully, Atrium’s accredited processes help us avoid running a greater risk of encountering situations like those.”

Don’t Give Your Heart to Just Anyone. Trust Premier Health.

With as much compassion as we have commitment, facilities located throughout the region, and an extensive, experienced physician network, Premier Health offers award-winning, quality heart care close to home. 

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about our cardiovascular services and programs, call (937) 499-7427.

Content Updated: December 6, 2017

These Atrium Medical Center locations offer Cardiology Services.
Cardiology and Vascular Services at Atrium Medical Center
One Medical Center Dr. Middletown, OH  45005
Outpatient Cardiac Testing and Rehabilitation at Atrium Health Center Mason
7450 Mason Montgomery Rd. Mason, OH  45040
Outpatient Cardiac Testing and Rehabilitation at Atrium Health Center Trenton
3590 Busenbark Rd. Trenton, OH  45067
Outpatient Cardiac Testing and Rehabilitation at Atrium Medical Center
One Medical Center Dr. Middletown, OH  45005
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