Meet Gerry Yumul 2015 “I am CardioSmart” Grand Prize Winner thanks to the ACC

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Gerry Yumul – Coronary Artery Disease, Victoria, MN
@CardioSmart, American College of Cardiology
While at the dental office in February, I disclosed my chest pain and trip to urgent care, but the dentist said that I should be fine since I wasn’t experiencing any unusual symptoms. But when he injected Novocain into my gums, I fainted and was out for around 7 seconds. After I came to, the dentist strongly recommended that I go back to urgent care. My wife drove me to urgent care, where I got an ECG and was advised to see a cardiologist.

The following week I saw my first cardiologist, Dr. Pagan-Carlo. He took my vital signs and recommended that I get a stress test the following day. The test showed that my resting heart rate was fine but my stressed heart rate was abnormal. I went back to my cardiologist and he strongly advised me to get a coronary angiogram and potentially an angioplasty as well. I was asked then to make a decision and consent to the procedure. This is when I think the knowledge gained from working at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation came into play. I wasn’t inclined to get any major heart procedure since I felt fine that day. But the symptoms and their potential consequences, which I had seen in a lot of communications materials at work, helped me decide that the smarter decision was to follow my cardiologist’s advice.

The recovery period was a huge learning experience for me. In cardiac rehab, I learned how to gradually regain my strength, to live a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and stress management, to develop a way to cope with emotional challenges and appreciate the important things in life, like family and friends. The recovery and health improvements I have made to date validate all my effort and perseverance in changing my lifestyle.

CardioSmart is the patient education and support program developed by the American College of Cardiology. Its mission is to engage, inform and empower patients to better prepare them to participate in their own care. In 2013, CardioSmart established the “I am CardioSmart” contest to find individuals who were living well with specific heart disease conditions: high blood pressure, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, previous heart attack or coronary artery disease, and showcase their stories to inspire other patients.

For the “I am CardioSmart” contest they asked the public how well are you living with heart disease. The responses were overwhelming! Their expert panel chose one winner in the following categories: Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure, Heart Failure, Congenital Heart Defect and Coronary Artery Disease. The winner in each category received a $100 Amazon/iTune gift card and have their stories featured on

ÁmateAhora, Voices for Health will post for the next five days their inspiring stories from each of the 4 winners and the grand prize winner—a trip for two to San Diego, CA. And speak at the American College of Cardiology.


One thought on “Meet Gerry Yumul 2015 “I am CardioSmart” Grand Prize Winner thanks to the ACC

    Gerry Yumul said:
    April 2, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    Thank you for sharing my story! My hope is that people will learn from it. For me, there is a difference between knowing what heart disease symptoms and taking them seriously. I was lucky that I work at a non-profit cardiovascular research organization. It pushed me to take the symptoms that I was feeling before my surgery seriously and avoided potential major cardiac event. But you don’t have to be in the cardiovascular health domain to prevent such as catastrophic experience. There are a lot of information out there on how to prevent, manage, and mitigate risk factors… we just have to take them seriously by living a heart healthy lifestyle.


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