Vim & Vigor - Summer 2012 - University of Virginia - (Page 52)

By Polly Turner A Virginia Man Climbs Above I What’s his secret? n 2001, while working out vigorously in a gym, a major heart attack struck Dick Harrington, a musician and retired English professor of Piedmont Virginia Community College. It changed his life in an instant—but not in a negative way. The University of Virginia Health System activated its rapid-response system and a cardiologist placed two stents in his arteries to allow blood to flow freely. Harrington was prescribed medications and was soon back pursuing the active lifestyle he had always enjoyed, mindful to eat smart and exercise daily. “The doctor said I would have had massive heart damage, but my heart attack was interrupted and my heart remained strong, so was compensating well,” explains Harrington, who lives in the mountains of Nelson County, Va. His heart condition barely interfered with his daily life until another pivotal moment, eight years later. He started feeling clammy and checked his pulse—but couldn’t find one. His heart, damaged by the previous heart attack, couldn’t pump enough blood to meet demand. In other words, he had an arrhythmia caused by heart failure. UVA doctors promptly performed an ablation procedure, threading a hollow tube through a vein into his heart to stop the electrical short circuit causing his heart to flutter instead of pump. They implanted a pacemaker in his chest to help ensure a normal rhythm. The device also included a defibrillator, which would shock his heart back to a normal rhythm should the lower chambers of his heart go haywire. > Dick Harrington enjoys a hike along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Despite heart problems, he lives life to the fullest. 52 Vim & Vigor • SUM M ER 2 012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Summer 2012 - University of Virginia

Vim & Vigor - Summer 2012 - University of Virginia
Life in Balance
Healthy Dose
Vein Attraction
A Clear Focus on Fibroids
Compassionate Care
The Breakfast Club
Arthritis Answers
A TV Guide to Radiology
Take Aim
It Might NOT Be Cancer
Colin Firth
Step Up to the Plate
Life After Cancer
Get Dad to the Doc
Virtual Health
In Her Element
A Virginia Man Climbs Above Heart Attack and Heart Failure
Too Young for a Stroke? Think Again

Vim & Vigor - Summer 2012 - University of Virginia