February is American Heart Month - abc27 WHTM

February is American Heart Month

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Nerita Groy is a 76-year-old who is on the go.

"I was very active. I used to walk in my neighborhood. I walked one or two miles every day," Groy said.

But one day, she realized something was wrong when she experienced shortness of breath during one of her walks.

Groy went to Good Samaritan Health System and found she had multiple blockages in her heart. She needed bypass surgery.

"We'll do bypass operations, we'll do valve replacements, valve repairs, we take tumors out of people's hearts if they have cancer. We can also do operations to help treat atrial fibrillation," said Dr. Martin Leboutillier, Chief of Cardiac Surgery.

About 150 heart surgeries are performed each year at Good Samaritan Health System. The hospital has a three-star rating.

"Three stars means you are significantly above average, and for the latest report which came out not too long ago, three stars were earned by about 13 to 14 percent of hospitals in the nation," Leboutillier said.

The rating is due, in part, to the way Good Samaritan Health System doctors do bypass surgeries.

"We do virtually all of our bypass operations without having to stop our patients' hearts and without having to put them on the heart lung machine," said Leboutillier. "That's important because the incidents of stroke when you don't have to manipulate the aorta drops dramatically. Our stroke rate for bypass is zero."

"Please, please go. It doesn't matter if you are right or you are wrong. You just to have it checked out by your family doctor," Groy said.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It can attack people of all ages and backgrounds.

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