Heart disease doesn't always come with red flags and chest pain. As Nancy Naeve Brown found out, a marathon runner from Aberdeen had no idea he was running on the edge of a cliff, so to speak, until he went through the Avera St. Luke's Heart Smart Program.
Gaylan Lang from Aberdeen looks fit as a fiddle. The 5'7" Aberdeen native weighs in at a svelte 139 pounds. As an avid runner for 21 years, completing 10 marathons including the grand daddy of them all in 2010 the Boston Marathon you'd come to expect he'd be in tip top shape. No one expected, including Gaylan to hear he has heart disease.
Gaylan says, "Heredity is something I can vouch for you cannot run away from so you have to do what everyone should do: take care of yourself, see your physicians. After the procedure to get a stent, I was in the hospital and posted on Facebook that I'm happy to be alive. I bought
Gaylan has always been good about getting his annual exams and this year he also decided to go through the Heart Smart Program at Avera St. Luke's, which turned out to be a really good decision.
Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Lou Kumar at Avera St.Luke's says, "Quite frankly, I was quite surprised something just didn't sit right and decided to precede with an angiogram and in retrospect I'm glad we did and so is Gaylan."
During the Heart Smart Screening Gaylan had a CT scan done to get a calcium score. Dr. Kumar wasn't comfortable with this area right here and that's what ended up being the blockage.
Dr. Kumar says, "He got a stent in his artery on the right side of his heart. It was 99% blocked. It was literally hanging on by a thread. I just couldn't believe he'd been out running the day before 7 or 10 miles."
Dr. Kumar performed the Cardiac Catheterization here at Avera St. Luke's and he accessed Gaylan's coronary arteries by going through his radial artery in his wrist instead of the femoral artery in his leg so he could get back to running sooner.
Gaylan says, "If I'd had chest pains I would have been in here in a blink of an eye, but I didn't have any of those symptoms that people talk about. I'm just fortunate with the medical advice I got and the people we have available in Aberdeen are that good."
Gaylan wants to pass along something he's learned in this journey; eat well, exercise often and go to your doctor no matter what kind of shape you think you're in because you can't outrun your family genes of heart disease.
To find out more about Avera St. Luke's Heart Smart Program go to: