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HOME arrow PATIENT & VISITORS arrow Patient Stories
Dale's Story

DaleIf you are a woman with a man in your life, Dale’s story may hit home. Keep nudging your guy to exercise, eat nutritiously and seek appropriate medical care for his age and family history. A gentle reminder could possibly save a loved one’s life.


Over the summer, Karen Brandt encouraged her husband Dale several times to have a Planet Heart screening. Through her work at Spencer Hospital she had heard so many good things about the cardiac screening program, including how it had helped many people identify concerns early, helping avoid a major heart event, so she felt it could be important for Dale to do as well.


Dale wasn’t as enthused. His blood pressure had always been good, he felt good, and he liked to use his free time in other ways, like fishing and hunting rather than going to the hospital for a heart screening. So, he put it off. Then one day he reconsidered.


“I had already scheduled a Planet Heart exam for myself so when Dale told me he was ready to have the screening, I decided to give him my appointment time which was just a week away,” Karen explained. “My original appointment was September 16th so I rescheduled myself for Oct. 26th. I am so glad he didn’t wait. Perhaps everything would have been fine; however, there’s a chance that in those few weeks, he could have had a major heart incident.”


During Dale’s Planet Heart check, he learned that his blood pressure had changed and now recorded high and that his cholesterol levels were also high. Also, from the low-dose CT of his heart, he learned he had calcium plaque in one artery while the others were clear and healthy.


“I was totally shocked as my blood pressure had always been good,” Dale said. “But I have to admit, I just hadn’t been feeling well in general for a few months.”


Dale’s physician placed him on medications to help control his blood pressure and cholesterol and also scheduled an appointment for him with cardiologist Dr. Mark Gordon of the Avera Heart Hospital. Dale didn’t have to travel as Dr. Gordon routinely holds clinics for patients in Spencer. After conducting more tests, Dr. Gordon recommended an angiogram, a procedure that uses x-ray imaging to see the blood vessels from the inside.


Dale and Karen traveled to Sioux Falls for the procedure on December 3rd. Karen recalls that the angiogram showed significant blockage and it was recommended a stent be placed in the artery to keep the vessel open. While it wasn’t an emergency procedure, for the Brandts’ convenience the surgical schedule was checked, an opening was available and Dale was in an operating room 30 minutes later.


“Dale stayed overnight in the Heart Hospital and was able to come home the next day,” Karen recalls. “I remember leaving his room that night to go to a guest room and in the hallway I saw the surgeon who had performed Dale’s procedure visiting with a woman about my age who was obviously upset. A flight crew was nearby, putting equipment away. I realized that the likely scenario was this woman’s husband had just been flown in after a heart attack and it hit me, that could have been me, but it wasn’t. Because of discovering Dale’s blockage through Planet Heart, we were able to have a preventative procedure rather than being faced with the trauma of a major heart event.”


Dale is exercising regularly as an enrollee in Spencer Hospital’s Cardiac Rehab program. He recently had a follow-up visit with Dr. Gordon who gave him a good report and said there wasn’t a need to see him again until November, one year post-procedure.


 “On the way home that day, Dale was very quiet,” Karen said. “With his eyes straight ahead, not looking at me, he quietly said: ‘You know, you probably saved my life.’ I think we both had tears in our eyes, but I know it wasn’t me. I think God had this all planned. We’re both grateful that we had the opportunity right here in Spencer to get this valuable heart check. We highly recommend Planet Heart.”


“People need to do this not only for themselves, but for their loved ones,” Dale emphasized. “It’s a painless screening that costs less than a tank of gas with huge results toward achieving peace of mind.”


Then, with a chuckle, he adds, “I’ve got many more fish to catch in my lifetime.”