Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Patient Gets Big Surprise at Sentara Heart and Vascular Center

Charlie Beahm is a tough guy. He’s not one to go to the doctor or complain about aches and pains. After being retired for 10 years his sister urged him to get a physical because he wasn’t feeling well and hadn’t gone to the doctor for many years.

“After my physical, one thing led to another and I ended up in a cardiologist’s office. He had me get a cardiac catheterization at Sentara Potomac Hospital,” says Charlie, a Lorton resident. “They found out during the test that at some point in the past I had actually had a heart attack and didn’t even know it.”

During his procedure at the Sentara Heart and Vascular Center at Potomac Hospital it was discovered that indeed, Charlie did have a heart attack in the past.

“During his cardiac catheterization procedure, we saw that his arteries were blocked and there was evidence of a past heart attack,” explains Dr. Khalid Abousy, a cardiologist with Virginia Cardiovascular Care. “Because of this finding, in addition to his family history of heart disease, we placed him on the proper medications to decrease his risk of having another heart attack or stroke.”

Charlie’s symptoms were very vague and sporadic. He didn’t experience chest pain or the other more common symptoms of heart attack. He just wasn’t feeling very well.

“Even though I’m retired I do a lot of physical work,” says Charlie. “I don’t live a sedentary lifestyle and I usually feel pretty good, so I didn’t have any idea that I may have had heart problems.”

According to Dr. Abousy, Charlie’s inaction is pretty common.

“Many people write off aches and pains as ‘just part of getting older’,” says Dr. Abousy. “But it’s very important to have regular checkups and to pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. In Charlie’s case, there is a significant family history of heart disease, which is a very important indicator. A family history increases your risk even if you have no other symptoms or risk factors.”

Even though he received a big surprise during his visit, Charlie is glad that he came in for the procedure.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like hospitals, but I had a really good experience here.” says Charlie. “The staff in the heart center treated me very well and they were very nice.”

Do you know your heart health numbers?
Find out at our upcoming Pocket EKG Screenings, which includes:
• Complete 12-lead EKG Reading (includes atrial fibrillation screening)
• Cholesterol Test
• Blood Pressure Check and
• A Heart Risk Evaluation
After the screening, participants are sent a pocket-sized card with an image of your baseline EKG on one side and essential emergency information and cardiac history on the other.

Upcoming Screenings:
Saturday, November 5, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 10, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Screenings are by appointment only, are held in the Sentara Heart and Vascular Center at Potomac Hospital and cost $20. Appointments last about 30 minutes. To schedule your screening, call 703-221-2500.

For more information about the Sentara Heart and Vascular Center visit If you need help finding a doctor call Sentara Potomac’s Health Connection at 703-221-2500.