An Unexpected Diagnosis Saves Local Man’s Life

Anthony LoBraicoWhen Anthony LoBraico of Oakhurst began experiencing a dull ache in chest, he assumed it was the result of the stress and exertion from his physically demanding job in the maintenance engineering department at Monmouth Medical Center. A problem with his heart was the furthest thing from Anthony’s mind.

“When most people think cardiac trouble, they think sharp, shooting, debilitating chest pain, so I never thought twice about my dull ache,” says Anthony. “Luckily, I mentioned the pain in passing to my general practitioner, and he suggested I see a cardiologist.”

When the 61-year-old visited Monmouth Medical Center cardiologist Jeffrey Osofsky, MD, FACC for an echo stress test, Anthony passed. However, Dr. Osofsky didn’t like the way a corner Anthony’s heart looked and scheduled a cardiac catheterization for the next day.

During the catheterization, the cardiac team discovered Anthony had a 100 percent blockage of his left anterior descending artery. Immediately he was scheduled for angioplasty and stents, a procedure where a small balloon widens the blood vessels to improve blood flow and a small tube is implanted to keep the vessels open, at our Heart Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. After four hours, physicians and cardiologists weren’t able to get through the blockage and had to perform coronary artery bypass surgery, which successfully opened up the artery. During coronary artery bypass, a vein or artery from another part of the body is attached to the coronary artery to allow blood to bypass blockages.

“I didn’t even know I had a problem,” says Anthony. “It’s scary to think about what could have happened if Dr. Osofsky didn’t suggest the catheterization.”

After his surgery, Anthony enrolled in the Heart Center at Monmouth Medical Center’s cardiac rehabilitation program, where they hooked him up to an EKG while he worked out to monitor his heart.

“The staff treated everyone with the same level of respect and care,” says Anthony. “They successfully created a social environment so the patients and therapists form bonds with each other. It made me want to exercise.”

Now, Anthony’s life is back to normal. He can walk the hospital without pain and has a newfound energy level he never knew he could have – never realizing how fatigued he was until after the surgery.

“When I look back at my surgery, I think about how incredible the Cath team was,” says Anthony. “They worked like a team, made me feel comfortable and actually cared about my wellbeing. It makes me proud to work at a hospital that offers such a high level of care.”