If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.


Not the Kind of Heart Throb Taylor Swift Sung About
January 02, 2024

Kim Krug was in all her glory last May during a Taylor Swift concert at Lincoln Financial Field. Kim, from Pennsburg, swayed to the music and traded bracelets with fellow Swifties.

While celebrating that highest of highs, she had no idea what the coming week would bring. Chest pains. Pins and needle feelings. A week after the concert, while at home, she knew something was wrong and drove to the <a href="/upperbucks">St. Luke’s Upper Bucks Campus</a>.

“I had just awful <a href="/heart-and-vascular/conditions-and-services/chest-pain">chest pain</a>, and it wasn’t going away,” said Kim, 51, a Global Director for Johnson & Johnson. “And I couldn't fall asleep. I was in so much pain. It was like hours and hours, and I couldn’t take it anymore, so I drove myself to the ER.”

Her EKG was fairly normal, said cardiologist <a href="https://findadoctor.slhn.org/details/243">Marcus A. Averbach, MD</a>, who examined Kim in the ER, “but her blood tests showed high levels of troponin, indicating she was having a heart attack. I told her I was really glad she came in.”

Kim experienced a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (non-STEMI) that happens when the heart’s need for oxygen can’t be met. Dr. Averbach had Kim transferred by ambulance to <a href="/anderson">St. Luke’s Anderson Campus</a>, where an on-call team led by interventional cardiologist <a href="https://findadoctor.slhn.org/details/660">Luis A. Tejada, MD</a>, performed an angioplasty and placed a stent to fix a 100 percent blockage in her left anterior descending artery (LAD), the so-called “Widowmaker” blockage.

“It’s the most important artery,” Dr. Tejada said. “We did the catheterization and it went very well and restored the blood flow with a very good result.”

“They saved my life,” Kim said. “I mean it. They really saved my life. The second part of the story is that because I waited so long to go in, I had a lot of heart damage, which left me with an ejection fraction of 35 percent, which is scary.”

A normal ejection fraction is 55-65%. Below 35% means your heart isn’t pumping enough blood and may be failing.

Kim went home with a LifeVest, a wearable defibrillator, and was referred to cardiac rehabilitation with Andrea Emery at St. Luke’s Quakertown in <a href="/heart-and-vascular/conditions-and-services/other-conditions-cardiology">Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation</a>. There, she said she found the physical lifestyle and emotional support she called “absolutely extraordinary!”

“When she first came to me, she was very depressed and was feeling a lot of stress,” Emery said. “I told her cardiac rehab is where we can get rid of that LifeVest, and she looked at me like I had two heads and asked if that was true and I said absolutely.”

Kim fully committed to the rehab process. She changed her diet, quit smoking, and didn’t just begin to exercise, but learned about cardiac risk factor modification. After “graduating” from cardiac rehab with an ejection fraction of 45%, Kim continues to take spin classes to work her heart.

“I put into practice everything I learned in cardiac rehab,

Kim said. “It’s also about nutrition, with a clean diet, and I’ve lost 60 pounds.”

That last session with Andrea was something sweet. And Swift.

“We always play music during rehab sessions, and she just loved Taylor Swift,” Emery said. “So, for her last session, I created a whole Taylor Swift playlist and she absolutely loved it.”

Before that Taylor Swift concert in May, Kim thought she was living her best life, dancing away. Today, after a major scare and important, healthy lifestyle changes, she really is.

“None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary care from everyone at St. Luke’s,” Kim said.