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No Longer Skating on Thin Ice

Hockey referee receives prompt, effective treatment for coronary artery disease in Kansas City

Jeff Busch is no longer skating on thin ice after having three stents implanted to help his coronary artery diseaseEven though he was fit and took good care of himself, 60-year-old Jeff Busch found himself facing heart disease. The Olathe businessman and retired paramedic firefighter stayed active as a hockey referee. Despite his high blood presure, he didn't think he had much to worry about. He later learned his condition was serious.

"My parents both had heart disease, but they lived to a healthy age of 83," says Busch. "And my brother had cardiac arrest several times, but that was him. I didn't expect to have any issues."

When he was diagnosed with hypertension, Busch was referred to a specialist at a well-known regional cardiovascular center. "They did a full battery of tests including an echocardiogram, EKG and CT scan of my heart," he says. "They determined I had a wee bit of blockage and put me on medication."

Warning signs

Six months later, he grew concerned because he noticed some symptoms like occasional shortness of breath. He mentioned his symptoms to his son. Soon after, his son attended a conference for emergency services professionals and attended a class led by Matthew Earnest, MD, a cardiologist at The University of Kansas Health System. After the class, the young man talked to Dr. Earnest about the symptoms his father was having. Dr. Earnest encouraged Busch to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

"Within a couple of days, I was in Dr. Earnest's office, and he reviewed my previous tests. Two days later he had me in surgery for a heart catheter procedure," says Busch. "It's a good thing he was so adamant about getting it done."

Dr. Earnest and the cardiac catheterization lab care team implanted 3 stents to open Busch's arteries.

"I had arteries that were 99, 98 and 96% blocked. That was a big deal," he says.

A speedy recovery

Just 7 days after his procedure, Busch was back on the ice refereeing a hockey game. He no longer felt the arm pain he'd been blaming on an old sports injury, and his ankles were no longer swelling.

"I felt like I was 30 years old again!" he says.

Busch praises Dr. Earnest and the team of professionals who were involved in his care.

"They were phenomenal. They eased my nerves and made me feel fully comfortable."

Today, Busch's EKG is back to normal, and he feels like he has a second chance at life. He says he and his wife, 3 kids and 5 grandchildren have a lot to be thankful for.