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Rob Monroe

Rob Monroe was diagnosed with the flu. Despite antibiotics, he kept getting weaker and shorter of breath. "I couldn't lie down," he says. "I couldn't breathe."

So Monroe saw a second doctor. This one ran an EKG. And Monroe couldn't believe the results. "She said I'd been having heart attacks in my sleep!" The doctor called Vail cardiologist Jerry Greenberg, co-director of VVMC's Cardiac Catheterization Lab, for a second opinion.

Dr. Greenberg urged Monroe to get to the cath lab immediately. "They put me on a treadmill for a stress test. Within three minutes, I was almost falling off," he recalls. "I couldn't finish the test."

Dr. Greenberg did an angiogram to get a better picture of the problem. He injected fluorescent dye through a thin catheter threaded into the coronary artery. The dye virtually stopped flowing. "My main coronary artery was 100% blocked," Monroe says, "and the next biggest one was 80% blocked." A third artery was 40% obstructed. It was a wonder Monroe was alive.

Dr. Greenberg expanded the worst two arteries using balloon catheters. He inserted stents to hold them open. He prescribed medication to reduce the third blockage. Three days later, Monroe was hauling hay and feed for his horses. These tasks had been nearly impossible before his visit to the cath lab. "Now I can lift two 40-pound feed sacks with no trouble," he says."

Monroe and his wife moved from New Jersey to Colorado eight years ago. One key factor in their move was the quality of care at VVMC. "It's probably the best in the world," he says.

These words, it's clear, come straight from the heart.