New heart pump saves patient’s life

March 19, 2018

GOSHEN, Ind. – On the morning of Jan. 19 Jackie Pressler, administrative assistant at Lippert Components, was at work. She was having a very rapid heartbeat – or spells, as she thought of them – which she had managed in the past by clenching up her muscles. But that morning, her technique wasn’t working. Finally after several hours, her supervisor called Pressler’s husband, Ronald, to take her to the hospital.

“I wanted him to take me home first so I could change my stockings,” Pressler said. “I had a hole in my stocking.” Fortunately, he went straight to Goshen Hospital’s Emergency Department.

She said when she arrived, “I never saw so many people moving so quickly to work on one person as they did on me. They were so wonderful to me.”

“Jackie was having a heart attack in both the front and back walls of her heart at the same time. She was in shock,” said Abdul Basit, MD, FACC, FACP, FSCAI, interventional cardiologist at Goshen Heart & Vascular Center. “We took her straight to the cath lab, where photos showed blockages in three blood vessels. Her chances of survival were low.”

“Because she was in shock, we couldn’t send her to have bypass surgery. Time was of the essence. To save her life, I put in an artificial pump, the Impella device,” said Dr. Basit. “Without it, there was no hope.”

The Impella is the world’s smallest heart pump, serving as a temporary aide to stabilize a patient so a cardiologist can perform procedures like opening up blocked vessels with stents. Considered a minimally invasive procedure, the Impella is inserted through the groin and pumps four litres of blood.

Dr. Basit had used the Impella device during his fellowship training at Kettering Medical Center, Ohio. “This is the first time I’ve done one here at Goshen Hospital,” he said. “No one else in this area is doing this procedure in an emergency. With it, we were able to get Jackie stabilized, open up two blood vessels and put in six stents. A few days later, she walked out of the hospital. She went back to work a month later.”

Once the stents are in, the Impella pump comes out. 

Before her heart attack, Pressler had not seen a doctor or taken any medication for six years – even though she knew she had diabetes. “I won’t do that again,” she said.

“I get tired when I do too much, but otherwise, I’ve been fine since. I thank God every day for Dr. Basit and his team for saving my life.”

Recognized for providing outstanding care for heart attacks, Goshen Heart & Vascular Center has received the Platinum Performance Award for the last six years. In addition, the center offers a full range of cardiac care including prevention, diagnoses, treatment and rehabilitation of heart and vascular diseases.