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A Second Look May Have Saved His Life

After seeking a second opinion for a heart attack at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Roger Taylor learns of a genetic heart condition that was almost overlooked

Roger Taylor"It's a miracle I'm alive." This is what Roger Taylor, a cardiac patient at The University of Kansas Health System, says when talking about the time his heart stopped.

Taylor does not remember much about that day in October 2012, only that he was driving home and became lightheaded. A good Samaritan found Taylor slumped over his steering wheel and called 911. When police officers arrived minutes later, Taylor had no pulse. They initiated CPR and shocked his heart. He was rushed to a community hospital near his home.

After 11 days in Intensive Care, Taylor went home. However, he continued to have concerns about his heart health. That is when he came to The University of Kansas Health System for cardiac care. After several tests, cardiologists determined Taylor's heart attack was due to a genetic heart condition. Within days, heart rhythm specialists inserted an internal cardiac defibrillator/pacemaker into Taylor's chest.

Now a year later, he feels great. He continues to receive support from his cardiac team through the health system's risk reduction program, which includes education, nutritional counseling, exercise recommendations and behavior modification.

Taylor's story is just one example of the quality care provided by the heart team at The University of Kansas Health System.

"Our patients receive leading-edge preventative, diagnostic, treatment and follow-up care," says Matthew Earnest, MD, cardiologist at The University of Kansas Health System. "Patients here experience significantly better rates of survival, far exceeding the national average."

Quick response means lives saved

Our physicians train local paramedics so they can provide more advanced care in the field. These first responders are trained to obtain and interpret EKGs at the scene of an emergency. Based on their interpretation, they can activate the hospital's rapid response heart attack team, which specializes in treating these patients. Even before the ambulance arrives at the Emergency Department, the cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and the entire heart team are ready and waiting.

Thanks to this early notification, our heart attack team provides the fastest response possible to increase survival. Patient survival rates for the past 12 months reflect those combined efforts, reaching 96% for STEMI patients 30 days following treatment. (STEMI is the most severe type of heart attack.)

"Receiving care at one of the top heart programs in the nation, our patients can be sure they are getting the best modern medicine has to offer," Dr. Earnest says.