This article originally appeared in the 2009 Clinton Hospital
Foundation Report to Donors.
|Marykate Winn with her niece Ryan
At 26 years old, heart disease
was the last thing on Marykate Winn's mind. But during the first snowstorm of
the winter, the notion of heart disease soon became all too real for the young
"I had just finished shoveling the driveway and drove to the store to get
some rock salt," recounted Ms. Winn. "On my way home I got an intense pain in my
back and arm." Ms. Winn knew the classic symptoms of a heart attack, but, given
her age, she never imagined she could be experiencing a heart problem.
Fortunately for Ms. Winn, when she returned home and told her brother, Brian,
a nursing student, what was happening, he thought fast and ran to get his
stethoscope to check her heart rate. "It was through the roof," described Ms.
Winn. "So he called my mom and she told him to get me to Clinton Hospital right
While receiving an electrocardiogram (EKG) in Clinton Hospital's Emergency
Department, Ms. Winn went into ventricular tachycardia, which is a dangerously
high, potentially fatal heart rate that can be a complication from a heart
attack. She was rapidly transferred via ambulance to the Cardiac Catherization
Lab at UMass Memorial Medical Center where the cath team was standing ready
awaiting her arrival. After receiving two stents to repair the damaged wall of
her artery, spending 40 days in a life vest to monitor her heart activity around
the clock, and undergoing six weeks of cardiac rehabilitation, Ms. Winn returned
to Clinton Hospital's Ambulatory Care Center for follow-up testing, including a
digital echocardiogram, with her cardiologist, Rishi Vohora, DO. "Dr. Vohora
couldn't believe he was looking at my echo. He was amazed that there was
virtually no permanent damage to my heart," said Ms. Winn.
Only four months after her attack, Ms. Winn tragically lost her father who
suffered a heart attack at home and was unable to call for medical attention.
This devastating turn of events gives Ms. Winn a new appreciation for how
fortunate she was to receive immediate attention at Clinton Hospital and the
Medical Center. "My results are the best I could have hoped for," she said. "If
Clinton Hospital wasn't here, I don't know that the outcome would have been the