Denny Erwin has always led a busy life. In addition to serving as billing manager for Louisiana Cardiology Associates, a part of Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group in Baton Rouge, he also enjoys spending time with his family, working in his yard and exercising on a regular basis. These activities always came easily for Erwin, so when they began to cause him pain, it was a discouraging situation.
“Whenever I would begin to mow the lawn or spend a few minutes on the treadmill, I would start having chest pains,” Erwin recalled. “The pain would increase pretty rapidly after about 10 minutes or less whenever I would start to exert myself or put stress on my system.”
Initially, Erwin thought the pain was caused by a gastrointestinal problem such as indigestion. But, when he visited his doctor, he learned that it was more likely a cardiac problem and not a GI issue.
“I had never had a heart attack or heart problems, so I think I was in denial,” he said.
Erwin made an appointment at Louisiana Cardiology Associates and for the first time, arrived as a patient instead of as an employee. He underwent a treadmill stress test that showed abnormalities. Further tests conducted by Dr. N. Joseph Deumite showed that he had a 100% blockage in his right coronary artery.
“Fortunately, in my case, some tiny arteries had grown off of the area around the blockage, and those small arteries supplied just enough blood flow to probably keep me from having a heart attack,” Erwin said. “That doesn’t happen with everybody, so I think that was a God thing that happened to me. I’m very thankful it did.”
After the blockage was discovered, Dr. Bryan Hathorn of Louisiana Cardiology Associates performed a stent procedure on Erwin, using a less invasive method through his wrist. Aside from the blockage, Dr. Hathorn told Erwin that the rest of his heart was in good condition.
“Since I had the stent, I’ve had no more issues and no more chest pains,” Erwin said. “That was in 2019, so it’s been over two years now. I’m able to work outside, go to the gym and do everything that I want to do with absolutely no problem. I could tell a difference immediately.”
In fact, the procedure went so smoothly that Erwin received the stent late one week and returned to work the following Monday. Since he already exercised several times a week, he was able to continue his treadmill sessions without going to a special cardiac rehab program.
Erwin said he is grateful that Dr. Deumite and Dr. Hathorn were able to work as a team to discover and resolve his problem. At Louisiana Cardiology Associates, there is a collaborative and teamwork approach to treating patients that allows cardiologists to further specialize in certain procedures.
“I really believe that both of them prevented me from having a serious heart attack and may have saved my life,” Erwin said. “I think everyone here is the best at what they do and I would recommend them to anyone. I was never anxious about having the procedure done. I have a very strong faith, so I knew God would take care of me and I knew I was in good hands with my physicians.”
Erwin said his only regret is that he didn’t meet with a cardiologist when he first began having chest pains.
“There’s no shame in having a problem and getting it checked out,” he said. “You have to pay attention to what is happening with your body. If something is not normal, it’s your body’s way of telling you that something is not right.”
At Louisiana Cardiology Associates, dozens of board-certified cardiologists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of a full range of heart conditions, using advanced imaging and the most minimally invasive techniques available. The team has experience in techniques including abdominal aorta ultrasound, cardio-oncology, carotid ultrasound, echocardiograms, nuclear imaging, pulmonary function tests, treadmill stress tests, venous ultrasounds and much more.