Heart survivor: 14 stents and still going strong

Published 3:00 am Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cathie Brantley Steed was 16 years old when her dad, Joe Brantley, died of a heart attack.

He had driven her to a piano lesson that afternoon and but didn’t feel well so he waited in the car. Neither had any idea that would be their last time together. Joe Brantley died that night. He was 58 years old. That was his fifth heart attack.

“Heart disease runs in our family,” said Steed of Brundidge. “My mother, Catherine Brantley, had heart problems. My brother, Joel, had quadruple by-pass surgery about three years ago and is doing well.”

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Steed suffered a heart attack in 2000 and has peripheral artery disease, which is a common circulatory problem in which narrows arteries and reduces blood flow to the limbs. She has 14 stents that keep her arteries open and the blood flowing.

And, like her brother, she is doing well.

Although Steed lost her dad to heart disease and although she knew that heart disease can be heridity, she was not prepared when her time came.

“On March 15, 2000, I worked all day cleaning out flower beds at my business in order to get a head start on my preparations for spring,” Steed said. “As the day went on, I began to feel pressure in the center of my chest. But I dismissed it as indigestion, which I often had.”

Steed said the pressure continued throughout the night but was better the next morning.

“After I went to work, the pressure continued off and on into the third day,” she said. “My husband had been away on a business trip and, when he returned, he insisted that I see the doctor.”

Steed’s doctor recognized the symptoms as a heart attack and sent her to the emergency room where it was confirmed that she was having a heart attack.

“I was sent to Baptist Medical Center South for catharizatoin and three stents,” Steed said. “The blockages I had were in minor arteries so I didn’t have to have surgery. But I was told that surgery would be a strong possibiltiy in about 10 years.”

In a period of eight months, Steed was in the hospital nine times. Over the next four years she had a total of 14 stents placed in her heart.

“I’ve not had any further problems other than an occasional bout with minor short term pressure that I treat with medication,” she said.

Steed said she has been blessed that her heart condition can be treated with the placement of stents and medication.

“The only problem with the stents is that scar tissue has formed on them,” she said. “But the replacement stents are now made of Teflon and scar tissue will not form on it.”

Steed said she doesn’t let the fact that she has 14 stents placed in her heart worry her.

“I don’t worry about what might happen,” she said. “I keep a check on my blood pressure and cholesterol, which is always low. I feel good and do what I want to do.”

Steed said advancements in the treatment of heart disease that are now in place could have possibily saved her dad’s life. And she knows these advancements have made it possible for her do the things she enjoys even though she has peripheral artery disease.

“By supporting the Pike County Chapter of the American Heart Association, we are funding research that has the potential to greatly reduced the number of deaths from heart disease through the awareness, prevention and treatment of the desease that is the number one killer of Americans,” she said.

The Pike County Chapter AHA will sponsor the annual Pike County Heart Walk from 5:30 until 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Troy Recreation Center. Everyone is invited to participate. Admission is free. There will be opprotuities for leisure and competitive walking and entertainment, food, fun and fellowship.