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June 15th, 2013

A pacemaker and discharge in 40 hours

By concertarchivist

In the afternoon of June 2, I contacted my on call physician, part of the UCLA Health System, and described an abnormally low pulse rate and some occasional dizziness. I requested a next day appointment and was advised that an EKG would need to be performed during this visit and to call 911 immediately if there were any changes in my condition.

I was not alarmed since I had been stable for several hours with a low pulse rate. I continued to monitor my condition taking my blood pressure and pulse rate.

I relayed this information to my daughter Monique, a Nurse Practitioner at Student Health on the UCLA campus. She volunteered to take me to the ER at Santa Monica Hospital for immediate testing and I accepted. I was promptly seen by the attending physician in the ER and after some tests and professional discussions with my daughter Monique they determined that I should be admitted at the hospital and I was told that I would likely be getting a pacemaker the next day.

This is exactly what happened!

All went very smoothly and frankly I have some people to thank. In my impaired condition I could not get all the names but I trust that you will find a way to convey my sincere appreciation to all those that were omitted. They deserve it!

First, I thank one of your talented care givers: my caring daughter Monique Vaillancourt. She was present at my side and during important discussions with my care givers. From my hospital room she maintained contact with her own patients.

Then, in order of importance, I would like to thank my surgeon, Dr. Osamu Fujimura whose detailed and concise explanations inspired so much confidence in me that I almost felt like a “spectator during the elaborate surgical procedure I was able to witness, while under local anesthetic.”

There were difficult moments but the elaborate game plan, which included placing a temporary external pacemaker in the operating room prior to the final procedure, made all the difference in my reaction.

I did noticed the difficulties experienced by the well coordinated surgical team. I was aware of the randomness of the heartbeat with the audible feedback coming from the monitor; yet, I remained calm while the probing continued. Despite the pain I would not have wanted to miss the opportunity to see a small miracle, well not so small a miracle, unfold. I needed to be there to properly thank this great surgeon.

I also express my gratitude to Dr. Ravi Dave and other attending cardiologists for their expert review of my test results, behind the scene consultations, and for their reassuring comments prior to the procedure and just prior to my discharge.

The nursing staff and technicians was attentive and cheerful. I could not have expected better treatment.

Next, I thank my regular physician: Dr. Arash Nikoukari for a relaxed and productive follow up visit and for keeping me “tuned up” and able to withstand the procedure without a glitch!

Finally, the maker of my Pacemaker: Medtronic deserve a thank your for a timely delivery of the device and assistance prior and possibly during the operation.

Now all is well and the proof of success: I have already walked about 12 miles during the past week, averaging 3.5 miles per hour and it is only June 15!

A grateful patient: François Vaillancourt, UCLA Graduate in Engineering, class of 1966.

Tags: cardiology, Dr. Arash Nikoukari, Dr. Osamu Fujimura, Dr. Ravi Dave, pacemaker, patient stories, surgery, UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica, Uncategorized

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