Lou Piombino lives healthier since his heart attack
Memorial Day weekend began as any other for Lou Piombino of Kinnelon, with shopping for flowers with his wife and eating at their favorite restaurant. But, evening changed in a heartbeat at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday when he was rushed to Chilton Medical Center after a massive heart attack that nearly ended his life.
Piombino recalls the dramatic turn of events when he awoke with an upset stomach and severe chest pains. Recognizing the warning signs, his wife called 9-1-1, enlisting the immediate assistance of the police, rescue squad and paramedics who initiated life-saving treatment and prepared Chilton for his arrival.
"As I saw the doors of the ambulance open at Chilton's emergency room, I knew I had a good chance to survive," said Piombino. "I knew that I had made it to one of the best hospitals in the country for heart and stroke care," he declares, describing how his daily commute took him along Route 23 where he frequently read a billboard that announced Chilton's ranking among the top stroke centers nationwide and its recognition as a top hospital in the state for cardiac care. He didn't realize how true these words were until his own life depended on them.
Cardiologist Lawrence R. Blitz, M.D., led Chilton's successful effort to minimize heart muscle damage by performing primary angioplasty within 43 minutes of hospital arrival, repairing Piombino's blocked artery and putting him on the road to a full recovery. The experience convinced the Piombino family of the immeasurable value of a healthful lifestyle as well as access to state-of-the-art medical care. With that in mind, they made a generous donation to benefit Chilton's heart and vascular services. The hospital's Cardiovascular Interventional Lab recently completed a $3.6 million renovation, which will provide leading edge treatment rooms, comfortable waiting areas and state-of-the-art equipment.
"If not for modern medical technology and the quick response of Chilton's cardiac team, I would not be alive today," asserted Piombino. "We felt that a donation would be an appropriate way to express our gratitude." His wife, Tina, agrees: "I was very impressed, proud and overwhelmed by the care Lou received and want to ensure that Chilton can continue to provide cutting edge cardiac services for our community."
Because Piombino believes he was given a second chance at life, he has embarked on a passionate crusade to promote healthy living through his involvement with such organizations as the American Heart Association. He was honored as a Red Cap Survivor Ambassador at an AHA's annual Heart Walk, and as opportunities present themselves, he is a spokesperson and advocate for hearthealthy living.
The heart attack inspired him to eat more nutritiously and exercise, pursue his love for tennis, work out at the gym faithfully and chart exciting plans for the future. "I am forever grateful to Chilton and its cardiac team for giving me this second chance," said Piombino. "And if my message of eating better and exercise can impact the life of even one person, I will have made a difference."