The Sioux Empire Fair wrapped up today and the Turner County Fair in Parker starts tomorrow. While you're there, the folks from the Avera Heart Hospital hope you stop by their trailer to get screened for vascular disease. Nancy Naeve Brown met a Hartford man who is sure glad he did last year.
Jim Jennings from Hartford admittedly spends more time in front of the TV than he'd like to. After undergoing 3 life saving, 3 life changing surgeries last year he still is dealing with some residual pain when he walks. Like his favorite movie star John Wayne he is showing he too has true grit to live. Last summer when he and his wife Johanna made their annual visit to the Turner County Fair in Parker he decided to bite the bullet and get screened for vascular disease. They checked his carotid arteries in his neck for stroke causing blockage, his abdominal aorta for aneurysms and his blood pressure in his legs for peripheral arterial disease. It was a good thing he did, a really good thing.
Jim says, "They told me I'd better head to Sioux Falls and talk to a doctor. And that's what I did, all in one day."
That doctor was cardiovascular/thoracic surgeon Tommy Reynolds with North Central Heart.
Dr. Reynolds says, "When he was screened they found an abdominal aneurysm. Upon further evaluation we found he also had aneurysm's that come from his iliac arteries. Those are the first branches off the aorta as the come down your back and goes toward each leg."
Jim says, "Had I waited another year might not be here to talk about it. Aneurysms, until you investigate in there, most don't realize how serious or how quick if one breaks we are talking 30/40 seconds and it's all over.
One aneurysm is bad; multiple stretched out vessels is really dangerous especially since the one running through his belly in his aorta was 18 times bigger than it should be.
Dr. Reynolds says, "Smoking is hard on he blood vessels especially those aneurysms and those below the diaphragm. He also had a bad critical carotid."
Instead of stenting his carotid, Dr. Reynolds cut it open and scraped out the plaque to prevent any from dislogding and causing a stroke. Then he went on to have a graft put in with a catheter to exclude the multiple aneurysms in his aorta and iliac arteries.
Jim says, "Have it done or be dead. It's pretty simple."
Jim also advises you to get the screening done before it's too late. He's living proof it works.
The Avera Heart Hospital will have an air conditioned trailer set up for vascular screenings at the Turner County Fair in Parker Monday and Tuesday (August 15 & 16) from 1 to 7 for just $25. You can just show up.
If you can't make it to the fair, but want to be proactive you call always call 877-AT-AVERA and schedule an appointment at the Avera Heart Hospital. The price at the hospital will be $50 alone, or $75 with the Planet Heart cardiac screening.