Southfield man's heart concern leads to life-saving checkup

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A Southfield man wanting to get in shape felt something wasn't right. When he got back on his treadmill routine, his heart protested - and doctors now say he got to the cardiologist just in time.

"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.

When 57-year-old Patrick Taylor showed up at the Providence Heart Institute, something was wrong.

"I feel my heart beating irregularly, skipping beats, 2 to 3 times a day every day," he says.

Patrick was trying to restore his workout routine. He admits he's a meat and potatoes guy, who has trouble sticking with daily exercise, but his shortness of breath and fatigue had Patrick and his wife worried.

"I noticed that his sleeping pattern had changed. He was sleeping a little longer than normal," Jacqueline Taylor remembers noticing.

An EKG first showed some irregularities with his heartbeat, and then Providence cardiologist Dr. David went inside his arteries using a thin tube and X-ray technology, called a coronary angiogram.

"We're looking for blood flow to the heart. The heart is a muscle; it needs oxygen and nutrients and they get there through arteries called the coronary arteries. What we're looking at is the blood flow from the arteries to see if there's an obstruction," Dr. David explains.

That's when the discovery was made; Patrick had a 70 percent blockage in the so-called "Widowmaker" artery. Which means open heart surgery is needed to bypass that blockage and get blood flowing.

Patrick and his wife took action. FOX 2 is going to follow him through his surgery this week.

In the meantime, the lesson Patrick wants us to learn is know your numbers. You can learn them this Saturday. Join FOX 2, St. John Providence and Crittenton for the Healthy Heart Project.

The Healthy Heart Project is Saturday, April 29 from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. (registration ends at 10:00 a.m.) at three locations.

Click here for more information.