Holland Hospital’s top-rated heart care services are put to the test daily in doctor’s offices and throughout the hospital, but never so much as when a patient is in the midst of a heart attack or other life-threatening cardiac condition. Then, quick, expert treatment makes all the difference.
That was the experience of Roger Rietberg, 90, last fall. Rietberg, a retired Hope College music professor, was getting ready for Sunday morning church when he fainted. His wife, Evelyn, called 911. Upon arriving at Holland Hospital’s emergency room, Rietberg fainted again several times and his heart rate dropped to dangerous levels. On-call cardiologist William Frauenheim, MD, closely monitored his condition and determined that a pacemaker was needed to keep his heart beating. The hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (cath lab) team immediately prepared for the emergency procedure.
“A pacemaker is a device the size of a half dollar that is placed under the skin of the chest to treat heart rate disorders, or arrhythmias,” Dr. Frauenheim explains. “It senses when your heart is beating too slow and sends a small electric current to your heart to stimulate it to beat at the correct pace.”
About 15 pacemakers are implanted each month at Holland Hospital by a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology, or problems with heart rate or rhythm. “These procedures are normally elective and scheduled ahead of time, but our cath lab team is available 24/7 for emergencies,” Dr. Frauenheim says.
A very rewarding experience
By 1 p.m. — only four hours after he fainted in his home — Rietberg had a pacemaker in his chest regulating his heartbeat. He was well enough to go home the next day.
Interviewed a month later, Roger and Evelyn Rietberg said the quick and caring response from all involved — from the ambulance and ER staff to the cardiologists and cath lab team — turned the health scare into “a very rewarding experience.”
“We were so grateful for everything Holland Hospital could do,” Evelyn says. “It was so good to know they were all right there and we didn’t have to travel. Holland Hospital has everything you need.”
ABOUT THE DOCTOR
William Frauenheim, MD
West Michigan Heart
904 S. Washington
Ave., Ste. 120
Holland, MI 49423