Heart and Vascular

How an Online Survey Saved Sammy’s Life

May 1 2019

It’s something we’ve all done before, perhaps multiple times a day. You’re checking out Facebook when a quiz catches your eye. That’s what happened to Sammy Marler back in February, but in her case, stopping to answer those few, quick questions may have very well saved her life.

The quiz was actually a survey pushed out by Bon Secours St. Francis Health System to assess heart risk as part of American Heart Month.

“I had no idea I had any heart problems,” recalls the 77-year-old. “I don’t really fill out surveys online either, but my sister passed away from a stroke and my brother and mother both had bypass surgery. So I just took the survey, knowing their history.”

The survey results showed Marler was at risk for heart disease, prompting her to submit more information so a nurse could contact her to follow up. A week later, she had an appointment set up at Upstate Cardiology.

During that visit, a nuclear stress test revealed Marler had problems in the apex of the heart and would need a heart cath to further assess the damage. The procedure revealed several blockages that would require a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) to fix.

“Dr. Chris Smith said ‘I’m sorry I don’t have better news, but you’re going to need surgery,’” Marler remembers. “I asked him what would have happened had I not taken this survey and he said I probably would have had a heart attack or much worse.”

She had surgery on April 8, 2019 and after just a week in the hospital, returned home. So far, her recovery has gone well.

“I have very few complaints physically, very little pain and everything is getting better,” she said.

Marler began cardiac rehab at the end of May at the HealthySelf gym located on the campus of St. Francis Millennium, and says she has no plans of slowing down. She’s just glad things worked out the way they did.

“Two weeks before surgery, I was outside, digging holes for flowers and had no problems – no symptoms whatsoever. I’m just so grateful that I took the survey and so grateful to St. Francis and the care I received there. I really do urge people to look at their history, because this could have had a much different outcome.”

Take our free, online heart risk assessment to learn more about your own heart health. 

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