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Warning Signs: Beverly Man Catches Heart Disease in the Nick of Time
By Healthy Life Summer 2011

Shoveling now can cause many people to suffer aches and pains, but for Beverly business owner, David Boeggeman, this winter’s annual ritual ended up saving his life. Boeggeman was shoveling a light dusting of snow from his walkway when he felt a brief pain in his chest. “A slight tightness in my chest just didn’t feel right,” said Boeggeman. “I knew I needed to get it checked out because I knew it wasn’t from exertion.”

After visiting his primary care physician and a cardiologist, he learned the cause of his chest pain: he had severe blockages in all his major heart arteries.

“I was shocked,” said the 55-year-old, who runs three miles daily and keeps busy working at his auto repair shop. “I thought I was pretty healthy for my age. Thinking back, I am lucky I’ve never had a major heart attack.”

Warning Signs: Beverly Man Catches Heart Disease in the Nick of Time
Hear Dave Boegemann tell his story in this video

Within a week, Boeggeman found himself at North Shore Medical Center’s Heart Center undergoing quadruple bypass surgery. After researching his options, he chose to have the surgery at NSMC’s Heart Center because it had outstanding quality results and could provide his life-saving treatment nearby. “The surgery was stressful enough for my family. I didn’t want them to worry about driving into Boston and visiting an unfamiliar place,” said Boeggeman.

A single blocked artery can lead a person to suffer a major heart attack; three blockages can be fatal because the heart is starved of blood and oxygen. “During bypass surgery, an artery from the chest, and arteries or veins from the arms and/or legs, are used to re-route blood flow around the blockage and restore blood flow to the heart,” explains NSMC cardiac surgeon Ann Toran, M.D., who performed the procedure. “The goal is to restore blood and oxygen flow to the heart muscle, to take away symptoms of chest pain or angina and prevent heart attacks.”

Boeggeman’s surgery was successful and he was back to walking one to two miles per day within a month of surgery. As part of his recovery, Boeggeman was referred to NSMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, which guides patients who have had heart attacks, angina, or a cardiac surgical procedure. Through the program, patients learn how to live a healthy life, watch their diet, exercise and reduce stress.

“Reducing stress is the biggest challenge for me,” said Boeggeman. “Being a small business owner is stressful, but the cardiac rehab program is teaching me to slow down and take a few minutes to breathe. I’m working less and enjoying life more.”