Southfield man survives widowmaker blockage by paying attention to his body

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A Southfield man who knew something wasn't quite right with his body went to the doctor to be checked out and learned that he was walking around with a potentially fatal blockage.

Patrick Taylor was getting back on his treadmill routine when his heart protested.

"He could barely walk 15-20 feet before he felt fatigued and out of breath," says Dr. Shukri David, a cardiologist at St. John Providence.

The 57-year-old was feeling fatigue and shortness of breath when he went to go get checked out. The diagnosis? A major blockage in a major artery - the one they call the widow maker.

It brings most of the blood to the heart and Providence Cardiologist Shukri David told him, you are going to need heart surgery to survive.

"This is a major artery with a huge terrify of blood that supplies the heart muscle. [If] that closes, it supplies about 60% of the blood to his heart, he would have died instantly," Dr. David said.

A few days after that diagnosis, Patrick is undergoing a double bypass. Providence Heart Institute Cardiac Surgeon Michael Lee is going around that blockage with parts from Patrick's own body to get blood flowing.

"We use one of the arteries on chest wall as well as segments of vein from his leg," Dr. Lee said. "We're using these tubes or veins and arteries to form a second pathway for blood and oxygen to get to the heart muscle.

Now it's time to heal and make some changes. He'll spend the rest of his life managing his heart disease with medication, proper diet, and exercise.

"It's mind-boggling the things that go on inside you and you don't know about. Pays to get checked out," he said.

Patrick had no idea what his heart was going through but he listened to what his body was telling him. The cardiologist says that probably saved his life.