Rich Tuszynski’s life is back on track, thanks to the exceptional care he received at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
As the father of two boys, Jack and Nick, ages 16 and 14, Rich had been athletic most of his life and spent many hours on the ice coaching his sons’ hockey teams. He maintained an active lifestyle with his family, sports, and working full time in the entertainment industry and was relatively healthy with no history of heart issues.
In 2014, at age 48, Rich woke up in the middle of the night with a burning sensation in his chest. He thought it was heartburn, but when the pressure persisted and traveled to his left arm and shoulder, he and his wife Kerry knew he needed medical attention. Henry Mayo’s Emergency Department staff quickly realized that Rich may have a life threatening heart condition. During his examination and subsequent testing, it was confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack and that there was a 100% blockage to the main artery supplying his heart.
“I walked into the ER, and they took me right in,” Rich said. “Soon after, Dr. Behi Rabbani told me that I had a heart attack, and I would need to go to the Cardiac Cath Lab right away.” Rich was taken to the Cardiac Catheterization Suite, and a blood clot was removed from a critical artery supplying blood to the front of the heart. Rich was admitted overnight and closely observed after the procedure. “That was the first time in my life that I spent a night in a hospital,” Rich said. “I received great treatment from everyone, and they answered all my questions.”
Rich was prescribed medications to help heal his heart and given detailed instructions on dietary modifications and safe activity levels. He was released the next day and recuperated at home for three weeks. His cardiologist then gave him an exercise prescription. For the next several months, Rich received treatment in the Henry Mayo Cardiac Rehabilitation Center. He credits Henry Mayo and his cardiac nurses – Dorinda Perez, Krista Dall and Reba Spooner – with his successful rehabilitation and for his new lease on life.
“They made sure I stayed on track and kept me motivated.”
The Cardiac Rehabilitation staff, in collaboration with Dr. Rabbani at the UCLA Santa Clarita Cardiology office, assisted Rich in reducing his risk factors for heart disease and provided information on lifestyle modification. Rich changed his diet, exercised regularly, and lost a total of 42 pounds. One year after his heart attack, Rich is back to his active lifestyle with no limitations and feels fantastic. He continues to coach his son’s hockey team, travels to watch his other son’s games, and skates three times a week.
“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle was an easy choice to make,” he said. “I have a family and a life, and I want to stick around for that. I’m happy to be able to skate with my kids.”