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Heart Procedure Helps Hiker Get Back on the Trails

Ernst Susanto

I was visiting family in New Jersey last summer. It was hot and humid, and every time we were walking outside, I experienced shortness of breath—even during short distances. My brother-in-law is a doctor, and he urged me to get a stress test when I returned home.

When I got back to Seattle, I asked my primary care doctor for a stress test. The stress test found I had problems with my blood flow, which meant I had to have another test. The next test, an angiogram, revealed blockages in three of my arteries. One was 70% blocked, another was 90% and the third was 100% blocked. This all came as a shock, as I have never had any heart problems or major health issues. 

Looking back, I had been experiencing shortness of breath during exercise for about five years. I just didn’t realize this had anything to do with my heart, since my physical checkups weren’t revealing anything of that nature. 

I was referred to Dr. Robert Riley, who specializes in complex heart cases. Mine was considered complex because my arteries were so severely blocked. Dr. Riley is one of the few doctors in the area who is trained to perform minimally invasive angioplasty to remove the blockages. The procedure was quick, and I went home the same day. Recovery was quite fast as well. 

Dr. Riley is a good person; he explains things in words you understand. He’s a good doctor, and I would recommend him.

Living in Washington, I like being in the outdoors, especially hiking and mountain biking. It was important to me to be able to get back to the activities I love as soon as possible. That, and the fact I’m only 53, is why I was hoping to have a procedure that was minimally invasive rather than open heart surgery.

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