Published on February 07, 2014

Nazareth helps Northeast Philadelphia man with coronary artery disease

Nazareth heart care is a life-changing experience for Northeast man

Robert TaylorRobert Taylor says he feels better today than he did before he was stricken with a potentially deadly heart rhythm disturbance in January 2013.
The 67-year-old man can walk longer distances without getting short of breath. He no longer needs nitroglycerin medication to control chest pain. Most importantly, he feels like he’s regained the ability to live life independently.

“I feel like I have a lot more strength, and I don’t get tired as easily,” says Robert, who lives in the Somerton section of Northeast Philadelphia.

“I’m looking forward to staying active for a long time,” he adds. Without hesitation, he credits his improvement to his Nazareth Hospital heart care team and its determination to find a solution to improve his heart function and quality of life.

“I Hit the Floor”

Robert discovered his heart problems while preparing for eye surgery in mid-2012. Pre-surgery testing showed he had extensive coronary artery disease as well as a poorly functioning heart ventricle. His doctors at the time decided his heart was not healthy enough for bypass surgery. Instead, he had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) — a small device to treat an irregular heartbeat — placed in his chest.

Then came the evening of January 8, 2013. He remembers standing in his bathroom and, “next thing I know I’m on the floor. When I wake up, my wife is asking me if I’m all right,” he recalls.

He had suffered a sudden cardiac arrhythmia that would have been fatal without the ICD, says Cheryl Leddy, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at Nazareth, who took over his care after the ICD was implanted.

Finding a Solution

While the ICD had saved his life, it did not help relieve his heart-related symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath. He also did not have medical clearance to drive a car.

“He was frustrated by his restricted activity,” Dr. Leddy says. “We decided the best option was to see if there was any kind of intervention that could be done for him that would improve his heart muscle function.”

In February 2013, Robert underwent an angioplasty and stenting procedure to re-open a blocked heat artery with Gene Chang, MD, and interventional cardiologist at Nazareth. An additional procedure in May re-opened a second artery.

Not only did he feel better within weeks, he says, but tests also showed that his heart’s ability to pump blood had improved dramatically.
Back in the Game

By September, Robert, who retired in 2004 after working as a police officer, small-business owner and school bus driver, was making his annual beach trip to North Wildwood, N.J., with Peggy, his wife of 43 years, and their daughter, Shannon, and son-in-law, Ray.

He was also cleared to drive, allowing him to resume traveling around the region to play in the poker tournaments he enjoys. While Robert calls Dr. Leddy a “lifesaver,” the doctor herself credits Nazareth’s commitment to offering patients personalized heart care, close to home.

“People don’t have to leave their physicians and don’t have to go to a different area of Philadelphia to undergo treatment,” she says. “We can offer a high level of care in a friendly setting where we know our patients and take into consideration their personalities and lifestyles.”

DID YOU KNOW? Nazareth Hospital received the Get With The Guidelines® Gold Plus Quality Award for heart failure care from the American Heart Association. If you’re looking for a heart disease expert close to home, visit or call 1.866.NAZARETH (1.866.629.2738)