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Lorraine Anderson, Heart Patient

"I never thought I'd be the one"

Having a heart scare was the furthest thing from Lorraine's mind. Active and seldom sick, she seemed to be the picture of health.

But a half-mile into walking her dogs one evening, Lorraine felt some unusual symptoms – aching in her arm and a burning sensation in her lungs. A series of tests revealed two major blockages – 90 and 95 percent – in the artery often coined the Widow Maker.

Lorraine's cardiologist broke the news that she would be heading to the hospital rather than returning home. "'Could you just repeat that one more time?' I asked ... it came as a shock," Lorraine says. Within hours she was being prepared for an angioplasty in which two stents were inserted to reopen the blockage.

By all accounts, her procedure was a success. But just four months later while walking her dogs, suspicious symptoms returned – the same strange burning sensation in her lungs and a new pain up and down her left arm. "Whatever it was," Lorraine says, "I figured I better have it checked out."

At the advice of her cardiologist, Lorraine went straight to the Saint Agnes Emergency Department. Good thing she did. Tests revealed that two more substantial blockages had developed in her Widow Maker – a phenomenon that, while not common, can occur after heart procedures. This time Lorraine underwent open heart surgery to remove the blockages.

Now several months later, Lorraine is back to walking 3-4 miles five times a week and enjoying life.And after two heart scares, she's more determined than ever to tune into the warning signs, and to remind others to do the same. "Pay attention to your body," Lorraine says. "I have a tendency to slough things off and be tough, but I've learned that sometimes you can't do that."

For more information about Saint Agnes Heart & Vascular Services, click here.

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Saint Agnes Medical Center | 1303 E. Herndon Ave. Fresno, CA 93720 | 559-450-3000