On July 11, 2023 Donna Watkins of Shelbina, Missouri, was feeling more tired than normal. By mid-afternoon she decided it was time to get up and get ready to go meet some friends. Donna made it to the bedroom and began to change when she suddenly became very short of breath. She had a great deal of pressure in her chest. Donna quickly realized she needed help. Home alone and her phone in the other room, Donna had to try to make her way back to the living room to call for help. Once she made it to her phone, she began to have terrible pain in her chest. She immediately called 911 and told the dispatcher what was going on. Just over 15 minutes later, the ambulance arrived and by this time Donna was feeling like she may faint. Donna shares, “I could hear the paramedics talking to me, but I could not see them. My blood pressure was so low, it was very scary.” The paramedics placed Donna on oxygen and transported her to the Emergency Department at Hannibal Regional.
Upon arrival at the Emergency Department, Donna underwent few tests and a chest CT scan showed that Donna was suffering from pulmonary embolisms, several blood clots in her lung. Dr. Santhosh Mannem, Interventional Cardiologist at Hannibal Regional, discussed with Donna that she was a candidate for an innovative procedure - surgical thrombectomy - to remove the blood clots. This procedure uses a catheter system to remove the blood clots from the lung and is minimally invasive.
That evening Dr. Mannem successfully removed about 20 blood clots from Donna’s lung. “I was awake during the procedure, but felt no pain. I was comfortable, the staff and Dr. Mannem made me feel less nervous. They talked with me throughout the procedure so I knew what was going on,” shares Donna. After the procedure, Donna was moved to ICU for observation and needed to lay flat on her back for a few hours. She had no complications and was able to breathe on her own without the assistance of oxygen.
Donna shares, “I felt so lucky to have this life-saving procedure available so close to my home. Plus, I was able to have this procedure within a few hours of arriving at Hannibal Regional. Afterwards, I felt a lot of relief and I was even able to go home without oxygen. “
Donna continues to thrive after her blood clots removal and continues to follow up with Dr. Mannem. For more information about surgical thrombectomy procedures or to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, call (573) 629-3500.