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West Houston Medical Center Recognizes Patient, Staff and Houston Fire Department in Honor of American Heart Month

West Houston Medical Center February 07, 2014

West Houston Medical Center Recognizes Patient, Staff and Houston Fire Department in Honor of American Heart Month

HOUSTON, TX – February 4, 2014 – It was what Andreas Matzakos and his friends thought was going to be another active Saturday of riding bikes through Terry Hershey Park, but it took a scary turn as Matzakos slowed down and collapsed off of his bike. 

At 49 years old and in good physical health, Andreas Matzakos’s incident that Saturday morning on November 9, 2013 was very unexpected.  He was biking with two friends around 11 a.m. when he experienced sudden cardiac arrest that left him unconscious and without a pulse.  Luck was on Matzakos side as his friend started CPR immediately and soon after an off-duty Houston firefighter, Michael Brown, took over.  Within minutes the Houston Fire Department arrived and emergency responders defibrillated Matzakos and managed his airway. An electrocardiogram (EKG) was performed on-site and the results were transmitted to West Houston Medical Center (WHMC) where an Emergency Department physician determined Mr. Matzakos was having a heart attack. The “Code STEMI” protocol was immediately activated and West Houston Medical Center (WHMC) Cardiologist, Dr. Shujauddin Mohammed, and the STEMI Team received Matzakos in the Emergency Department and transported him directly to the Cath Lab to treat a 100% blocked left anterior descending (LAD) artery. This enhanced communication between HFD and WHMC led to immediate treatment decisions which not only saved Matzakos’s life, but also minimized heart muscle damage.

“Through these heroic efforts, I am comfortably recovering at home with no permanent damage in either my heart or my brain, a miracle in itself considering where the episode happened and how difficult it is to respond promptly in such critical events,” says Matzakos. 

In order to expedite the treatment of heart attack patients, emergency responders are trained to communicate with hospital personnel and utilize equipment such as a portable electrocardiogram (EKG) to communicate readings to the hospital STEMI team (interventional cardiologists, cardio vascular nurses, and technicians). STEMI stands for ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a severe heart attack caused by clotting in one or more arteries.

The efforts of the Houston Fire Department EMT and paramedics along with the WHMC team are brought to light this month as the nation celebrates American Heart Month.  The American Heart Association, founded 50 years ago, is focused on building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease, and centers the month of February around education and community outreach about the number 1 killer of Americans.

“We have to educate everyone about risk factors and how to recognize a heart attack,” said Caliva. “We can continue to improve our door-to-balloon times, but our patients, their loved ones, co-workers, or just someone who witnesses another person’s symptoms—are the ones that really make the difference. We all need to recognize a heart attack and be programmed to call 9-1-1. The sooner a person recognizes they are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack and calls for help (9-1-1), the better the outcome.” WHMC’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab is available 24/7 with an Interventional Cardiologist on call to perform this life saving procedure.

About West Houston Medical Center

West Houston Medical Center is a full-service hospital serving the West Houston community for over 28 years.  This Joint Commission accredited facility provides a range of care including:  emergency services; neurosurgery services; inpatient and outpatient surgery, rehabilitation and diagnostic services; bariatric/weight loss surgery; senior care; wound care; sleep disorder services; cardiovascular care, women’s services and more. WHMC is recognized as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, a Certified Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, and a  recipient of the TMF Quality Improvement Award.  Under an affiliation agreement with The Woman’s Hospital of Texas, WHMC brings to its community The Woman’s Hospital of Texas at West Houston.  The facility is also home to The Heart Hospital at West Houston, a 3 story cardiac and critical care tower.  In Sugar Land, the Sugar Land Cancer Center and the Sugar Land Diagnostic Center are located on the Southwest Freeway at the Williams Trace and Sugar Lakes exit.  In Richmond/Katy, HealthOne 24 Hour Emergency Care | West Campus is located at Westpark Tollway and the Grand Parkway and provides 24 hour emergency and outpatient imaging services. The diagnostic center, cancer center, and emergency center facilities are departments of West Houston Medical Center. Visit us at www.WestHoustonMedical.com

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