I Had a Minor Heart Attack: Rocco’s Story

July 23, 2020

In September, Rocco was working in the backyard with his kids when he felt a pain in his chest.

“It was a burning sensation,” remembers Rocco. “I thought it was heartburn, but a few hours later it still hadn’t gone away.”

Rocco’s wife convinced him to go to go to the hospital. At Humber River Hospital’s Apotex Emergency Department, the staff saw Rocco right away. They ordered an electrocardiogram which was inconclusive, so they ordered a few more tests.

His tests revealed that Rocco had had a cardiac event – a minor heart attack. He was admitted to Humber as an inpatient and introduced to his cardiologist Dr. Paul Szmitko.

“Heart attacks can feel different depending on which blood vessel is being affected,” explains Dr. Szmitko. “Symptoms like heartburn-sensations which Rocco had, jaw pain, and shoulder pain are often dismissed. If it’s new or lasting longer than you expect, it’s best to seek medical attention.”

“Dr. Szmitko was great,” says Rocco. “He explained everything to me. He was very open and warm.”

Dr. Szmitko ordered Rocco an angiogram at one of Humber’s partner hospitals, a test that involves x-ray pictures of the coronary arteries. The test revealed a blockage, so they performed an angioplasty to open it at the same time.

He was brought back to Humber for another two nights.

“I didn’t mind staying the extra night to tell you the truth,” remembers Rocco with a laugh, “My room was very comfortable, the staff were all awesome. I had a different nurse assigned to me every day and they were all wonderful.”

“It’s always nice to hear of good patient outcomes like Rocco’s – It’s why I went into this field,” says Dr. Szmitko. “The whole patient experience is important and we’ll make sure he continues to feel well through his follow-up appointments.”

“I’m feeling great,” says Rocco. “It was an eye opener to go through this, but our experience at Humber was very good.”