Patient story

After Steve's heart attack, he continued his heart care at Allina Health clinic in Northfield.


Steve Meierbachtol was teaching school when he had his heart attack in 2011. He wasn't aware that he was among the one in three Americans who has some type of vascular disease, or that he was one of the 785,000 Americans who had their first heart attack in that year.

He did manage to dodge a bullet - heart disease is the leading cause of adult death in the United States - and he is feeling great and enjoying life today.

Meierbachtol credits the fast action of Nancy Becker, the school nurse, who called 911. The Emergency Medical Services team at Northfield Hospital determined that he was having a heart attack, and using the Minneapolis Heart Institute® Level One protocol, rushed him to Abbott Northwestern Hospital via helicopter. Minneapolis Heart Institute® doctors were ready when he arrived, and quickly opened his blocked arteries.

Follow-up care close to home

As a result of the quick, expert care, the heart attack did less damage to his heart. His follow-up care has been back at home in Northfield with Mark Labenski, MD, family medicine doctor at Allina Health Northfield Clinic, and Richard Bae, MD, cardiologist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute®. He did cardiac rehab at the District One Hospital in Faribault.

"The partnership of the Minneapolis Heart Institute® with the communities and Allina Health clinic in Northfield and Faribault provides access to the whole spectrum of heart care, most of it locally," said Bae. Consultations and many tests are available locally. Further advanced diagnostic testing such as CTs, cardiac MRIs, angiograms and procedures including pacemakers, valve repair or replacement, bypass surgery and heart transplants are done at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. The Allina Health electronic health record helps doctors at all sites coordinate care.

Eighty percent of heart disease is preventable

It's great to have that kind of emergency care available when you need it, but it's best to stop heart trouble before it happens. According to the American Heart Association, 80 percent of heart disease and stroke can be prevented.

"Get your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checked and keep them within healthy ranges," recommended Bae. Smoking and excess weight also add to your risk.

The American Heart Association suggests you follow Life's Simple 7™:
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