Jan Sieghart: Cardiac Catheterization & Open-Heart Surgery

Jan Sieghart is a retired nurse who loves walking with her husband, playing golf and making jewelry. She enjoys it all even more after having open-heart surgery at Allegiance Health.

Jan Sieghart is a retired nurse who loves walking with her husband, playing golf and making jewelry. She enjoys it all even more after having open-heart surgery at Allegiance Health.

Jan was walking for exercise at Jackson Crossing with her husband, Bob, when she suddenly experienced pain in both of her arms. “It felt like they were on fire from my wrists to my shoulders, and I knew something was wrong,” Jan recalled.” After sitting down for awhile, Jan felt better. Since there was no chest pain, she wasn’t overly concerned.

Two days later, Jan told a nurse anesthetist friend of hers what had happened. “She said the burning sensation was definitely not normal and that I should call my family doctor, which I did that afternoon,” Jan recalled. Her doctor ordered an ECG, which showed abnormal heart activity. He then scheduled Jan for a cardiac stress test, which also had abnormal results. Jan next went to Allegiance Health for a cardiac catheterization—a test to identify any artery blockages that would restrict blood flow to and from the heart.

Significant blockages were found, and Cardiovascular surgeon Vincent Simonetti, MD, explained that Jan would need open-heart surgery. “The news wasn’t good, but Dr. Simonetti was very professional and thorough in his explanation, and he took the time to answer our questions,” Jan said.

"I received fabulous care at the Allegiance heart center. The entire staff is wonderful and always keeps a watchful eye, whether or not you are their patient. Everything about my experience at the heart center was good."

Jan Sieghart, Open-Heart surgery patient

Jan’s surgery took place on January 11, “My husband tells me there was a horrific snowstorm on that day, but I don’t remember it,” Jan said. “I do remember that I received fabulous care at the Allegiance heart center. The entire staff is wonderful and always keeps a watchful eye, whether or not you are their patient. Everything about my experience at the heart center was good, and I felt fortunate to get this kind of care without going out of town.”

Following her surgery, Jan completed the first two phases of the Allegiance Cardiac Rehabilitation program, and she is currently in Phase Three—a cardiac maintenance program that focuses on continuing regular exercise and controlling risk factors.

Jan and her husband now want to share their experience with open-heart surgery with others, as part of Allegiance Health’s Straight from the Heart patient mentorship program. “It can be very reassuring to meet someone who has gone through surgery and recovery, and I want to lend my support.” Jan said. “Bob has learned a lot through caring for me at home, and he’d like to help other spouses through the experience.” 

Eating one or two servings of fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids per week, like salmon or tuna, decreases your risk for heart disease and even heart attack.