Retired Army Veteran Enjoying Life Following His Protected PCI Procedure


Earl Cooper, 85, is a retired postal worker, salesman, and Army veteran from St. Louis, MO. Earl has a history of coronary artery disease, including a prior valve replacement and hypertension. In August 2022, Earl began experiencing indigestion and tightness in his chest, but he initially ignored his symptoms. On the morning of August 24, Earl had severe chest pain and shortness of breath. His fiancée, Wanda, drove him to the local fire department where he received oxygen and medication. An ambulance then transported him to SSM Health DePaul Hospital. 

Once at the hospital, Earl was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, multi-vessel disease, and a reduced ejection fraction of 25 percent.  He was evaluated for coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG) but was deemed too high-risk for surgery due to his age and previous medical history. Dr. Elie Azrak identified Earl as a candidate for a Protected PCI procedure with Impella®. Once in the catheterization lab, Dr. Azrak implanted Impella CP® with SmartAssist® heart pump and placed multiple stents. One hour later, Impella was weaned and removed. Four days later, Earl returned home with his own heart. 

Today, Earl and Wanda enjoy taking walks and shopping, and are planning multiple vacations. He’s also enjoying quality time with his grandchildren. 

Learn more about Impella® heart pumps