Healthy 45-year-old father learns heart attack can strike any person, any time

Krister Terito, Cardiac & ER Patient, Abrazo Peoria Emergency Center & Abrazo Arrowhead Campus

Krister

At 45 years old, Krister Terito is an avid bike rider. He’s physically fit and has no family history of heart disease. So when he woke up with shoulder pain one August morning, he assumed it would simply go away on its own. 

“I felt some pain in my left shoulder and it started radiating to my chest,” Krister recalls. “I went back to bed for a while, went for a walk and ate some breakfast with my family.”

Krister started doing yard work, and began to feel sweaty and nauseated. That’s when he knew something was wrong. 

“I started feeling clammy, like I was getting the stomach flu, so I went inside,” he says. “My wife looked up my symptoms online and said she thought I was having cardiac issues.”

The Teritos took their kids to their grandparents’ house and went to the Abrazo Peoria Emergency Center. Krister was worried about his health, but also about how long he’d have to wait before he’d get in to see a doctor.

“I didn’t want to go to the hospital ER because I thought I’d sit there for five hours,” he remembers. “Two minutes after I walked in the door of the ER, I was in a bed being monitored.”

As it turned out, Krister didn’t have another minute to spare — five minutes after walking through the door, he had a massive heart attack.  

“I was transferred to Abrazo Arrowhead Campus and coded twice before they could get me into surgery,” he says. “The doctors placed a medicated stent and I was in the hospital for four days.”  

Krister made a quick recovery, but he’s still shocked that something like this could happen to him. 

My heart attack was a complete surprise,” he says, “especially since I recently had an annual physical and nothing out of the ordinary was found.
“My ER nurse was really awesome, and the hospital staff were so helpful and supportive,” he says. “Now I go three times a week to cardiac rehab at Abrazo Arrowhead Campus to work out. I am feeling great.”