St. Luke's Heart & Vascular Patient Stories

Patient Stories

Below are the stories of actual patients who got their lives back thanks to the St. Luke's Heart & Vascular team.

Charlie's Story:

Charlie Connely, teacher at Mount Carmel Area High School and long-time assistant coach for Marian Catholic High School football team, felt a sharp pain in the middle of his chest during half-time of the season opener. The pain disappeared until midnight when Charlie began experiencing tightness in his chest and pain in his jaw and arm. After telling his wife he was having a heart attack, Charlie was taken to St. Luke's Miners Campus where he was quickly stabilized and transported to St. Luke’s Allentown Campus.

At St. Luke’s Allentown Campus, Dr. Raymond Durkin discovered a fully blocked artery at the back of Charlie’s heart and immediately inserted a stent. The procedure was complete and Charlie was feeling better by the time his wife joined him at the hospital. Three weeks later, Charlie was back at school doing what he loves most, teaching.

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John's Story:

John Haney, an avid cyclist, was diagnosed with aortic stenosis years ago and knew he would eventually need valve replacement surgery.

So when he started feeling discomfort in his chest after cycling John went to his cardiologist, Dr. Marcus Averbach. After a cardiac catheterization, John learned that his left anterior descending coronary artery, known as “the widow-maker artery,” was 90% blocked.

Dr. Stephen A. Olenchock, Jr. performed bypass surgery and replaced John’s faulty heart valve. Three days after that, he was discharged, and in four weeks he was back at work. John credits the expertise of his doctors at St. Luke’s Heart & Vascular Center and his remarkable cardiac rehab for his rapid recovery. He is once again doing what he loves most... biking.

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Eugene's Story:

Although Eugene Gallagher crafts musical instruments for a living, his own rhythm was out of sync. Living with atrial fibrillation (A-fib) for many years, Eugene underwent multiple electrical cardioversions and two cardiac ablations to convert his irregular heart rhythm back to normal. Not long after the second ablation Eugene’s irregular heartbeat returned. That’s when Eugene’s cardiologist referred him to St. Luke’s Heart & Vascular Center for a radiofrequency ablation.

Dr. Darren Traub, specializing in electrophysiology, continues to monitor his condition and prescribed a new medication – Tikosyn – to control Eugene’s A-fib. Thanks to the quality care provided by the St. Luke’s Heart & Vascular Center, Eugene’s got his rhythm back.

Now his heart never skips a beat.

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Joan's Story:

Joan Peter, 84, leads an active lifestyle. Poker is her game of choice. After suddenly losing consciousness, Joan's primary care doctor referred her to St. Luke's cardiologist Dr. Arjinder Sethi.

Dr. Sethi evaluated Joan's complex medical history which includes cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and mitral valve disorder. He made modifications to Joan's extensive medication list, got her a defibrillator implantation and recommended a low calorie / low sodium diet.

Today, Joan's lightheadedness episodes are gone, her blood pressure and cholesterol are under control, and she feels she's been dealt a whole new hand. Joan is back in the game again.

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