February is National Heart Month
Dr. Mun K. Hong takes patient James Smith from 90 percent artery blockage to healthier heart and arteries and lower blood pressure
When Oxon Hill resident James Smith, 71, began feeling shortness of breath in the summer of 2015, he thought it was a temporary feeling due to being slightly over-worked. Still, he decided to get checked out by a physician. Knowing the outstanding reputation of doctors and hospitals in the MedStar system, he asked EMS responders to take him to a MedStar facility, not realizing his closest hospital was part of the MedStar system: MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.
Upon arrival here at 11:00 p.m. on a Sunday night, Smith found out he had, in fact, suffered a heart attack. He was seen by Chairman of Cardiology and MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute physician Mun K. Hong, MD, FACC, soon after arrival, and surgery to address the 90 percent blockage in one of his arteries was quickly scheduled for 8:00 the next morning. A stent was put in to address the blockage, and medication was prescribed to clear Smith’s other arteries.
“Dr. Hong was excellent,” said Smith. “I watched everything on screen as it was done, and he talked me through it.”
“He was fortunate,” said Dr. Hong. “After experiencing a heart attack, we were able to treat him and he’s been the model patient ever since. He is compliant with his medications, he finished cardiac rehab and he and his wife have made lifestyle changes to keep him healthy. He’s also lucky because his wife cares about him and wants him to do all they can to be healthy.”
After being released, Smith was set up with a course of follow-up appointments in MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Cardiac Rehab.
“I didn’t want to go, but my wife insisted,” said Smith. “And Dr. Hong agreed with her!”
After nine months of attending cardiac rehab, where he walked on a treadmill, rode a stationary bike and strengthened his chest muscles by using an arm cycle, Smith just completed treatment near the end of 2016.
“Cardiac rehab has been extremely beneficial to Mr. Smith,” said Dr. Mun K. Hong. “It’s giving patients both an exercise regimen and assurance they can resume activities. Also, they’re able to provide diet recommendations and psychological resources. Many patients find the group setting to be a positive thing, as well. At cardiac rehab, they are very dedicated. Anyone who completes the program, like Mr. Smith, will leave with a different mindset.”
Smith’s workouts, closely and constantly monitored by cardiac rehab staff, has brought his blood pressure down significantly, for which he, his wife Lola, his son Darren and three beloved grandsons, are all grateful. Smith will continue to see Dr. Hong every three months in an ongoing effort to make sure he stays as healthy as his procedure and cardiac rehab appointments have made him.
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Cardiac Rehab works in three phases. In phase one, patients are referred here while still in the hospital. In phase two, patients typically visit three times per week, which is usually covered by insurance. They exercise while overseen by associates and often pause for blood pressure or pulse checks. In phase three, patients visit to maintain the progress they have made. They are less monitored, but blood pressure and blood sugar is still tested.
If you or a family member needs information about MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Cardiac Rehab facility, please call 301-877-7370.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hong, please call 301-877-5677.