Stories of the Heart - Dr. John Ambrosino


Name – Dr. John Ambrosino

Age – 66

Occupation – MD in Vascular Surgery

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The Challenge

Imagine yourself walking your dog one cold morning and feeling a weird sensation in your chest.  You tend to just shake it off thinking maybe you’re out of shape and the cold weather is just putting a harder strain on your heart.  Well for Dr. Ambrosino, he had this same experience back in April of 2016 and decided to bring it up to his primary care physician.  His PCP decided that it was time for him to have a stress test to see if there was anything going on with his heart; Dr. Ambrosino ended up failing his stress test miserably.  This became a serious issue because it meant he had a major blockage somewhere around his heart.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 735,000 heart attacks occur yearly in the United States and approximately 25% of those are fatal.  John knew that he had to have surgery, so he and his wife decided that Sharon Regional would be his best option.  Ambrosino states, “After talking to my wife, I knew that Sharon Regional would be the option for me.  I didn’t want to go into a bigger hospital with tertiary care; I wanted to go to my best option.  I had the upmost confidence in the operating surgeon, the cardiology department, the anesthesiologists, and the whole team to put my life in their hands”.  Sharon Regional Health System is known for their accreditation as the only chest pain certified hospital in the region and having the most success for their heart attack patients.

The Solution

After John’s stress test, it was decided that surgery would be his only option.  John had a blockage in his proximal left anterior descending coronary artery, commonly known as the widow maker artery.  This artery is known as the widow maker because if it were to get blocked, it will cause a massive heart attack that can lead to sudden death.  According to the doctors from WebMD, once the artery is 100% clogged, a massive heart attack will occur and death can occur anywhere from seconds to hours.  Bypass is normally the way to go to reduce risks of further clotting.

His surgeon, Dr. Marrone, decided that the best option was to perform bypass surgery.  Bypass surgery is when you have the flow of blood diverted around the blockage.  The Sharon Regional Cardiology team decided that bypass was John’s best option because there was a risk for complications if they put in a stent.  Stents are only seen as temporary options because they can get clogged again or collapse if not properly placed.

The Outcome

A year later, John still looks back at his decision to come to Sharon Regional Health System without any regrets.  He was able to make outstanding progress and return back to work earlier than planned.  “If I didn’t have the surgery, I wouldn’t be here today”, stated John as he was thinking back to when he first had his appointment.  He’s back working as a doctor, spending time with his wife, and walking his dog every morning.  When asking John if there was anything else he wanted the community to know, he stated: “I don’t want people to think I chose Sharon because I work here, but because they are the only ones I trust with my life and they know what they’re doing”.