At 75-years-old, former charter captain and military man Roger Hahn has lived a big life. But he says, some of his early habits took a toll on his heart and now he wants others to know how grateful he is to the doctors and staff at Capital Regional Medical Center for saving his life.
His first heart episode occurred in 1985 when he was working in Chicago. "I was working across the street from a major medical center at the time," he said. "I remember having a sharp pain in my arm so I walked across the street to the ER. I ended up having triple bypass surgery." Mr. Hahn says he has no doubt his history as a two pack-a-day smoker was the underlying cause. "I quit smoking after my surgery, he said."
Mr. Hahn says he was fortunate enough to begin seeing Carey Dellock, MD and Niraj Pandit, MD, interventional cardiologists with Capital Regional Cardiology Associates. In 2012, Mr. Hahn underwent a cardiac interventional procedure receiving three stents. He later required implantation of a defibrillator to protect him from irregular heart rhythms due to ischemic cardiomyopathy (a weakening of the heart muscle.)
"Mr. Hahn's condition was complicated because he has had congestive heart failure," said Dr. Dellock. "He is an excellent patient when it comes to being involved in his own health care. He is very conscious of his diet, sodium reduction, and exercise. But that sharp focus is also what got him in trouble in 2017. His potassium and electrolyte levels dropped dangerously low which put him at risk for rhythm issues. His defibrillator detected those irregularities and began doing what it's supposed to do - shock the heart."
Dr. Dellock said the hospitalization was very traumatic for Mr. Hahn. "He was being shocked multiple times. We gave him medication while replacing his electrolytes. While we were able to stabilize him from that episode, we decided to refer him to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for consideration of advanced heart failure therapies including assist device and transplantation."
"I went to Mayo, but told them I was too old for a transplant when there are so many young people waiting on a heart," said Mr. Hahn. "At 75, I wasn't going to go through that. I'd rather manage my condition the best we could."
"We knew he was in the upper spectrum age-wise, but his compliance as a patient and support at home made him an excellent candidate for an infusion program," said Dr. Dellock. "However, we knew he wanted to take a different approach so we began a regime of IV medications that helped with the pumping function of the heart. In January, we were able to take him off of the infusion program and are now managing his condition with medications."
Throughout his many hospitalizations in 2017 and early 2018, Mr. Hahn said the thing that impressed him most were the people who cared for him, particularly in the ICU and Heart & Vascular Center at Capital Regional Medical Center. "They are the most gracious, beautiful people you could ask for," he said. "And I knew that they knew what they were doing. I had such confidence in their care. They take the time to talk with you and make sure you understand everything that is going on with your treatment."
"I'm so pleased to give a testimonial for the hospital and its staff. I recommend Capital Regional Medical Center and Capital Regional Cardiology Associates to everyone who needs expert, compassionate care."