Avera Medical Minute ASH: Planet Heart Screenings Save Lives - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute ASH: Planet Heart Screenings Save Lives

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Darrell Sundleaf went through Planet Heart and Vascular Screenings at Avera Sacred Heart in Yankton. Darrell Sundleaf went through Planet Heart and Vascular Screenings at Avera Sacred Heart in Yankton.

When you bruise yourself, you usually know it because you can see it and it hurts if you push on it. If you have an aneurysm, a vessel that is stretched out, often times you don't know because you can't see it and it doesn't hurt, but it could burst at any moment. Nancy Naeve Brown met a Yankton man went to Planet Heart at Avera Sacred Heart just in the nick of time.

Darrell and MJ Sundleaf from Yankton are very familiar with heart disease. In the past 4 years, MJ has had two heart attacks, one of them massive, and 3 surgeries including open heart triple bypass.  When the Sundleaf's heard about the Planet Heart and vascular screenings offered at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, MJ strongly encouraged her husband to get it done.

 MJ says, "Basically because I didn't want him to have to go through."

Lisa Miller, Cardiopulmonary Supervisor at Avera Sacred Heart says, "Men over 40 and women over 45 should have the screening done especially if they have a family history of heart disease. It's important to get screened and get an early evaluation."

Darrell's father and grandfather both died from heart disease before they ever made it to their 60th birthdays.

 Darrell says, "I'm coming up on 71 years old, never taken medication in my life, no symptoms what-so-ever, I have no muscular problems, no aches and pains, no bone problems."

The problem with vascular disease, as Darrell quickly found out, it often times has no symptoms so unless you get screened, you have no idea what's going on inside your vessels. Darrell had his carotid, abdominal and peripheral arteries all checked and it's a good thing he did.

 Darrell says, "Sure enough, they took me into the conference room and said we found you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm and it's larger than it should be for a minimum."

The aneurysm, the stretched out vessel, running through his belly was actually the size of a nectarine. If it would have burst, it would have almost certainly meant sudden death.

Darrell says, "It's very dangerous and very deadly and of course I had no idea."

Darrell immediately had his AAA fixed in the cath lab with a stent graft.

 Darrell says, "Someone said do you feel better now? How can I feel better now? I felt good 6 months before this because there is no warning, no feeling so no, I feel as good now as I did 6 months ago except now I don't have a problem."

And they both have piece of mind.

MJ says, "Yeah definitely. I want him around for a few more years."

Thanks to very affordable screening here at home and early intervention she will.

Planet Heart costs $50, Vascular Screening costs $50, but if you get them both it is only $75. In Yankton call 605-668-8000   

This is also offered at Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls. In Sioux Falls call 877-AT-AVERA to make an appointment.

What is Included:
  Calcium Score CT - crucial to early detection of heart disease
  Blood pressure
  BMI (body mass index)
  Cholesterol and blood sugar check
  Carotid artery screening
  Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  Peripheral artery disease screening


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