In July 2022, 66-year-old Westland resident Kurt Dominiak was getting out of the shower at his home after a long day and instantly began sweating and gasping for air. His fiancé, Linda, called 9-1-1. While being transported to the emergency department of Trinity Health Livonia by EMS, his heart stopped. He was resuscitated, but his heart stopped again upon arrival.
“I got in the ambulance and that’s the last thing I remembered for three days,” Kurt said.
His heart stopped five times as he was experiencing cardiac arrest. Dr. Tanmay Swadia, a board-certified cardiologist with the hospital, was on call that night and drove in to perform a life-saving procedure.
Testing done at the hospital showed Kurt had two blood clots in his lungs, which directly led to his cardiac arrest and his kidneys, liver and pancreas to begin shutting down. Considering this was a potentially fatal situation, Dr. Swadia had to act quickly.
“In the past, we would have had to transport the patient to a larger hospital for treatment, but that isn’t always the most successful course of action,” Dr. Swadia said. “Thankfully we had new technology available to us here in our Livonia hospital that eliminated the need to send him somewhere else.”
That technology referenced by Dr. Swadia is the Impella RP — a heart pump device that goes into the patient’s thigh, takes blood from the vein and pumps it through the pulmonary arteries.
Dr. Swadia and his team successfully performed the procedure and just one day later, Kurt’s kidneys, pancreas and liver began functioning properly again. His heart was completely back to normal just a couple days after that.
“I was still weak, but feeling better,” Kurt said. “I was there for 6 to 7 days and I progressed and got stronger every single day.”
After leaving the hospital, Kurt was tasked with physical therapy and further evaluations, which only lasted about a month.
“One day the physical therapist said he couldn’t believe how well I was doing and how fast I had recovered. I started walking up and down the steps and everything,” Kurt said. “Dr. Swadia referred to me as a ‘living miracle.’”
“The care Kurt received from beginning to end was impeccable,” Linda said. “Those nurses watched him like a hawk and explained everything thoroughly. We have a great deal of gratitude for Dr. Swadia and the rest of the staff at Trinity Health Livonia.”
Seven months following his cardiac arrest, Kurt says he feels like he is back to 100%. He doesn’t take for granted the simple pleasures of life and says he enjoys the routine, everyday activities he gets to do outdoors, like walking his dog and doing yardwork.
If you have concerns about your heart health, speak with your primary care physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, you can find one near you by visiting http://www.stjoeshealth.org/find-a-doctor.