Adena Health Focus February 13, 2018

Adena’s Top Rated Heart Care Saves Patient in Unexpected Moment

When Steve Deffenbaugh went in for what he thought would be a simple cardiac stress test leading up to an anticipated surgery, his life suddenly changed.

Steve had been experiencing hip and knee pain for quite some time and was seeking clearance from his doctor to have hip surgery. “Along with taking care of my diabetes, my hip and my knee, I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to get my heart looked at too,” he said.  

“After completing the stress test, the nurse asked me to lie on the table so she could get some final images of my heart,” he explained. “Once she got what she needed, I sat up and underwent cardiac arrest, or what most people refer to as a heart attack. Immediately an entire team of nurses came in and began assessing me. It wasn’t too long until they had to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on me. For a short period of time I was dead.”

Steve was taken to Adena’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) right away, where he was first stabilized and then diagnosed with Triple Vessel Coronary Disease. According to Cardiologist Dr. Bruce Chen, this is when all three different coronary arteries are blocked. The coronary arteries are essential because they supply blood to the heart.

Adena Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Randall Miller immediately took Steve into surgery having just finishing another operation.

At the time, Steve’s wife, Leah, was working when she received a call from Adena Cardiopulmonary. “When they told me what was happening I instantly went into shock.”

As soon as Leah arrived at the hospital, a cardiac nurse was waiting for her to escort her to the clinic so that doctors could explain what was going on. “To me, this was going above and beyond the expectations of any caregiver and it meant so much to me.”

Dr. Chen met with Leah and carefully explained in detail what the next steps were and what her husband’s care plan was. “I can not say enough good things about Dr. Chen,” she said. “Not only did the care team take great care of Steve, but they cared about me as family member as well.”

After Steve was out of triple by-pass surgery, he was sent back to ICU, where he spent a few days recovering before being transferred to another inpatient unit. “The outpour of care from everyone while we were on the inpatient unit was overwhelming,” said Leah.

“To thank one person wouldn’t be enough,” said Steve. “From the doctors, to the kitchen staff and housekeepers, every staff member had an impact on my care and our experience. Adena came together as a team and went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable and taken care of.”

After giving him plenty of time to heal, Steve was directed to complete 12 weeks of cardiac rehab. “Adena’s Cardiac Rehab staff were wonderful,” he explained. “They built up my confidence and built me up in more ways than one, making me feel comfortable working and walking again.”

He added, “I am a so thankful and lucky that Adena offers the heart services they do right here close to home. If I had to be stabilized and transferred to Columbus, I probably would not have survived. I knew I was in the hands of very skilled and competent professionals.”

As a cardiac rehab graduate, Steve has now lost 35 pounds and is able to function as he did before. He and Leah now cook heart healthy recipes together and are excited for spring to begin walking together outside. Leah has even scheduled a heart test herself to ensure her heart is healthy. “We are now so grateful for each and every day and we have Adena to thank for that,” she said.

Adena Health System is nationally ranked as top 50 cardiovascular hospital by IBM Watson Health, the only hospital in central Ohio with this designation.

Adena offers a full-line of top-rated cardiovascular services for a variety of heart health needs. Services range from managing a chronic heart condition; testing for heart disease; minimally-invasive services, such as catheterization; cardiac rehabilitation; and a highly-successful open heart surgery program. To learn more, visit