Patient Story

Amos Szajner's Journey to Heart Recovery


My name is Dr. Amos Szajner. I’m 63 years old and I’m an anesthesiologist from Lake Elmo, MN. Despite suffering a heart attack in 2011, I’ve always lived an active lifestyle. I’m an avid rock climber, I manage a hobby farm with my wife, Sue, and I travel regularly with my family. When I began experiencing flu-like symptoms during my shift at Alomere Hospital in Alexandria, MN, I initially ignored my symptoms. Following my shift, I returned to my townhouse where I felt increasingly ill. When I returned to the hospital to monitor my health, I collapsed. Fortunately, a custodian found me lying on the floor and called for help. Medical staff performed CPR and shocked my heart multiple times before I was transferred by helicopter to St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, MN.

I was brought to the catheterization lab in cardiogenic shock with a very low ejection fraction (15-20 percent). Interventional cardiologist Dr. Daniel James Tiede removed a blood clot from my left anterior descending artery and placed a stent. He then inserted the Impella CP® with SmartAssist® heart pump to allow my heart to rest and recover. After three days, my heart function improved to 45-50 percent (normal is 55-65 percent) and Impella® was removed. Following a brief recovery period, I returned home to my family.

Today, I am working full-time and rock climbing with my family. Every day is a blessing from God and I’m so grateful to spend my time with my family.

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