"I had this heavy feeling in my chest," said Boldrick. "I never had anything like that before. The pain didn't go away. It got heavier."
He also was having a hard time breathing. Boldrick decided it was time to head to the emergency room at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center.
"When I walked into the emergency room, a nurse asked me what was wrong. When I said I was having chest pain, she immediately took me into the cardiac triage, put me on a table and three doctors appeared.
Blockage was called 'widow maker'
"It looks like you are in the midst of a heart attack," Dr. John Aumiller, an interventional cardiologist, told him.
A heart catheterization determined that Boldrick had a blockage in the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery. The blockage, often referred to as the "widow maker," was at the beginning of a major vessel that supplies blood to a significant portion of the heart muscle.
Boldrick was told a balloon stent could be used to open the blockage or he could take medication to expand the artery, but that would take time.
Boldrick chose the stent or the angioplasty procedure. He said he did not feel any pain during the procedure. "Within 10 minutes, they said 'we're all done."'
After the procedure, Aumiller explained what had happened and showed Boldrick the problem on a screen. The stent pushed the sides of the artery out and will help dissolve the plaque.
"The (chest) pain was gone within seven hours," Boldrick said. "The worst pain I felt was when the tape was pulled off the IV and the stickers were pulled off my chest."
Boldrick is slowly getting back into his work schedule around his Chrisman Lane residence. The 54-year-old is retired and plans to begin working in his yard soon.
McDowell one of two small hospitals with catherization staff
Danville is one of two small hospitals in the state that has a heart catheterization lab staff, Boldrick said.
Boldrick is the 10th patient to receive the angioplasty procedure at McDowell.
During a heart attack, the heart muscle is deprived of adequate blood flow, which deprives the tissue of oxygen, said Shelly Selby, director of cardiopulmonary services at McDowell.
Over time the tissue will die if blood flow is not restored. Assuming the patient survives, the longer the heart tissue goes without adequate blood flow, the more damage is done, which can seriously diminish a person's quality of life thereafter, she said.
Angioplasty is considered the "gold standard" of treatment for heart attacks and should be performed within 90 minutes after a patient arrives at a hospital, according to Selby.
Had Boldrick not sought medical attention and had angioplasty not been available locally, damage to his heart could have resulted in death or significant disability, Selby said. Because of the quick response of the staff, the blockage was opened within 59 minutes of his arrival at McDowell hospital, she added.
Boldrick praised the hospital staff for their fast and efficient work. He was in the hospital three days.
Only a little damage
"They got me in so fast, and I will have only a little bit of damage," he said. "Everything worked out beautifully. I have no complaints."
Selby said individuals should not drive themselves to the hospital when experiencing pain. Call 911 because emergency medical services personnel can deliver life-saving treatments not available by family members.
Selby is proud of the hospital for offering angioplasty.
"Dr. Aumiller is a top-notch interventionist with many years of experience, and our emergency department and cath lab staffs are second to none," said Selby. "They continue to amaze me with their dedication and commitment to this program and to the patients who come through the door."