For years Howard had complained about chest pains. In 1991, on two separate occasions, he called paramedics to his work for what he thought at the time were heart attacks. The first time they came, they determined that he was having heart burn. As so often is the case, heart disease symptoms are dismissed as some less threatening form of illness.
However, the second time the paramedics were called they determined that Howard needed to go to the hospital for a coronary examination. He was first examined at Highline Hospital, but during the catheterization, it was determined that he required an Angioplasty, and so he was transported from Highline to Providence.
Howard had at lot of the risk factors. His mother had heart disease, his father had high blood pressure, Howard smoked, and had both high blood pressure, as well as high cholesterol.
Still, he managed to fly pretty much under the radar until 2005. He says at the time he began experiencing chest pain with even a slight exertion, and recalls rating it at a pain threshold of 9 out of 10. He described it as sometimes being like a bullseye in the center or his chest or a radiating pain flowing from the center of his chest up toward his neck.
Following a referral to Dr. Amish Desai at Providence Hospital he underwent a second Angiogram, and this time he had a complex stent place at a junction between two intersecting arteries. The two stents form a Y shape and was a prolonged stenting procedure.
Finally, October of 2015, at the age of 72, just a month before his 73rd birthday, Howard found himself having yet a 3rd Angiogram procedure. This time, they were attempting to access the previously placed stents, in through the right wrist, when it was discovered that the blockage was too severe to be effective and that a bypass was necessary.
On November 19, 2015, Dr. Glen Barnhart of Swedish Heart and Vascular performed a Quadruple Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG X4) attaching his Left Internal Mammery Artery (LIMA) to his Left Anterior Descending Artery (LAD). He also had 3 other bypass grafts performed using his left Saphenous vein.
No one wants to go through a bypass procedure the first time, but in Howard’s case, it was discovered soon after he went to the ICU, one of his grafts had already failed, and so, prior to regaining consciousness, he was taken back into the OR, to have that graft performed again.