Richard Imgram enjoys golf, exercise and spending time on the water. He goes to the gym three days a week and has never had any heart problems. Imgram and his wife Mary Ann enjoy life in their lake community. They have two children, four grandchildren and five “grand dogs.”
In late August 2020, Imgram became overwhelmed with indigestion and felt sick to his stomach. He’d never been severely ill or hospitalized. That’s why he was shocked to learn he was having a massive heart attack, especially because he did not experience arm or chest pain. He required emergency intervention and was taken by ambulance to Parkwest Medical Center.
His physician was Naresh Mistry, MD, cardiology specialist with Knoxville Heart Center. Dr. Mistry noted one of Imgram’s arteries was almost completely blocked, which caused the heart attack. After heunderwent a balloon angioplasty and received a stent, he stayed overnight for observation.
An angioplasty uses a tiny balloon catheter that is inserted in a blocked blood vessel to immediately widen it and improve blood flow to the heart. Angioplasty is often combined with the placement of a small tube called a stent, which helps keep the artery open for blood flow. This procedure is often used during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce the amount of heart damage.
Cautiously, Imgram went home and resumed his normal activities. Four weeks later, after a safe stabilization period, he returned for his scheduled second stent placement at Parkwest. However, when Dr. Mistry went to place the additional stents, he noticed how hardened several other arteries had become. Because the vessels were so calcified, it would be dangerous to proceed with inserting stents as planned. Imgram required open heart surgery instead.
Headed for Surgery
“With these multiple blockages, the patient was not well-suited for a stent,” said Dr. Mistry. “I referred him to a cardiovascular surgeon, which was the best option for him. The patient underwent a four-vessel coronary artery bypass surgery with Dr. Poret. Mr. Imgram is very lucky to have intervention when he did, and he has shown excellent post-op progress.”
Andrew Poret, MD, a board-certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, is a member of East Tennessee Cardiovascular Surgery Group, and treats patients at Parkwest. Dr. Poret performed Imgram’s quadruple coronary bypass surgery in October 2020. Imgram and his wife appreciated Dr. Mistry’s clear explanation of the critical situation and are forever grateful for Dr. Poret’s life-saving operation.
“Both doctors were spectacular. They talked to me and made me comfortable. Surgery was not so much of a surprise after it was explained why I needed it.”
The couple says that once it became evident that bypass surgery was the next step, Dr. Mistry helped put their minds at ease. Imgram says, “he was very kind and caring with my wife,” and adds that he is grateful Dr. Mistry referred him for surgery.
“I thought it was great both physicians visited me every day. I had a good, clear expectation of what to expect. I was nervous but comfortable at Parkwest Medical Center.”
“Surgery improves chances of survival, but there is more to it,” explains Dr. Poret. “We also educate patients about lifestyle changes. We talk about diet, risk of weight gain, diabetes and things like that. Mr. Imgram and his wife were very amenable to learning everything they could.”
Imgram stayed stayed at Parkwest for several more days to recover. He began Phase I of cardiac rehab in the hospital, and was monitored by both physicians for several weeks after his surgery.
“Heart disease ran in my family. I had lost 80 pounds and was in good shape, not
overweight. I lost my father and brothers to heart attacks. I thought I had beat destiny.” In a way, he did. Dr. Poret reports, “He did a great job to do what was necessary to get well quickly. I really appreciate patients who want to get the most out of their health and take better care of themselves after surgery. He is doing fantastic.”
Imgram continued with cardiac rehabilitation, a medically supervised exercise program for those recovering from heart events.
He says, “Cardiac rehab has been great. It has pushed me. I have completed the 12 weeks and am back to walking outside.”
He reflects, “I guess it has helped me get back to almost normal. It’s a tough year and hard to gauge what normal is. I am ready for
spring and returning to the golf course.”
For more information about the cardiac services available at Parkwest visit