CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Earlier this year, a 61-year-old Coral Springs grandfather was throwing up and feeling pain in his arms.

So Igor Molina drove himself to Broward Health Coral Springs, walked into the lobby, and collapsed on the floor.

He was rushed to the hospital’s emergency room, telling a nurse at the time: “Tell my wife and kids that I loved them in case I do not make it.”

But Molina survived, thanks to the hospital’s new catheterization lab that opened up in June.

In January, shortly before Molina was a patient, the hospital’s cath lab received designation of its newly accredited ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) program, which means that the most acute heart attack patients will be able to receive critical interventional care with an angioplasty procedure if deemed appropriate.

There, Molina had a STEMI procedure which is done when one of the heart's major arteries is blocked.

He was the lab’s first STEMI patient.

“They saved my life,” Molina said Thursday.

Ashraf A. El-Shalakany, M.D., an interventional cardiologist and part of the hospital’s cardiac team, treated Molina on Jan. 29.

“Mr. Molina’s type of heart attack required immediate attention, and with our cardiac cath lab in place, we were able to race against time,” Dr. El Shalakany said. “By opening the blocked artery with a stent placement and re-establishing blood flow to his heart muscle, the outcome was life-saving.” 

Hospital officials said Broward Health Coral Springs is designated as a Level 1 Heart Program by the Agency for Healthcare Administration, and with the STEMI procedure, the hospital stands to offer top-level care to save people suffering heart attacks.

“The addition of our STEMI heart program makes it possible for EMS to pre-alert the emergency department and transmit the electrocardiogram,” said Gary Lai, D.O., chief of emergency medicine at Broward Health Coral Springs, in a statement. “Our team can then be ready for the arrival of the patient and rapidly stabilize, medicate, and expedite care to our in-house cardiac catheterization lab. This will save lives and optimize outcomes.”

Weeks after his heart attack, Molina said he is feeling better.

He’s still recovering and considers himself fortunate.

“I have been given another chance at life and my gratitude extends beyond borders to this medical team,” he said.


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