Post-hospital discharge, Bill Fitzpatrick adjusts to living with heart disease as he resumes working and trying to maintain a normal life.

However, Fitzpatrick’s return to the office is littered with obstacles like a second COVID-19 diagnosis and the passing of his uncle.

Still, Fitzpatrick perseveres in the face of adversity and ultimately is honored at the 69th Neal Awards with the Best Podcast award and is internally recognized at the 2023 MM+M Awards for Commercial Excellence.

Ajay J. Kirtane, MD, SM, the director of Columbia Interventional Cardiovascular Care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, talks about the importance of medications for treating heart disease as well as the fear patients live with.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventative cardiologist, spokesperson for Go Red for Women initiative through the American Heart Association and founder of Adesso, a heart prevention and wellness program for women, emphasizes the importance of exercise as a way to combat heart disease on a daily basis.

Dr. Rohit Vuppuluri, a cardiologist based in Chicago, underscores the impact COVID-19 can have on the cardiovascular system.

Chen Fang, PharmD, RPh, clinical strategist, team lead and manager at Cardiology Advisor, walks the audience through the experience for a patient living with heart disease after their emergency care is through.

MM+M, in conjunction with Cardiology Advisor, presents Me and My Heart, a special four-part podcast series delving into Fitzpatrick’s turbulent patient journey, the persistence of heart disease and issues surrounding access to care in America.

To listen to the other episodes in this series, click here.

Check us out at:

Follow us: 

YouTube: @MMM-online
TikTok: @MMMnews
Instagram: @MMMnewsonline
Twitter/X: @MMMnews
LinkedIn: MM+M

To read more of the most timely, balanced and original reporting in medical marketing, subscribe here.

Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.

Out of the hike today at a trail near my house.

It’s peaceful. I started walking.

and hiking


a week and a half after my

stent procedure

Hey, that’s not actually entirely true. I’ve always gone on Hikes. I’ve always taken my kids on hikes.

Even when my twins were like three years old, I would take them on Hikes before I had this hard thing. It’s a free it’s a fun free activity.

But I definitely up to my game. I upped my hiking and walking game.

So much after this.

mainly cuz

the following week I was still in a lot of pain.

But then once I started feeling better.

both physically and mentally

About the whole situation. I was like, you know what?

I’m gonna go get healthy because I don’t want this to happen again.

This strange pressure

built in my chest whatever the appearance of the artery gets very small that’s an indication for a

block. This is really scary and really serious

answering widely accepted medical procedure for cardiovascular Care New

Year’s Eve. I was laying on the couch just out of commission.

My first week home was tough.

New Year’s Eve came and went with me being sick on the couch. What a way to ring in 2023.

On top of that. I was feeling a lot of worry.

A few days after I got home from the hospital. I would just lay on the couch or lay in bed each night and just be awake all night.

Yeah, I was in physical pain. My arm was like stinging all up my arm into my shoulder, but

I was also just like

Am I okay?

Is something going to happen?

Am I gonna wake up tomorrow if I close my eyes?

It was almost like I was trying to stay awake.

Just so I knew I was alive and gonna be okay.

The biggest thing I see is either

the patient or their family. It’s this fear. It’s the Fear Factor that I can’t live a normal life that I’m gonna die and I’m all of a sudden turned into an old man or an old woman or something like that. And I think that what we try to do is turn this event into a positive. I’m Dr. Audrey carethane a Interventional cardiologist and professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Also an Affiliated physician for the cardiovascular research Foundation the first half of the series focused on the diagnosis and treatment of Bill Fitzpatrick as a heart disease patient.

Now we’re pivoting to life after treatment the life of living with heart disease.

The fact the bill is starting off this episode hiking through the woods is another Testament to the impact of modern medicine as it relates to cardiovascular care as you’ll hear from Clinical experts in this episode.

A heart disease diagnosis is not a death sentence. If anything, you can live a fully functional life with heart disease if manage correctly through medicine exercise and lifestyle changes.

Not all of them are easy not all them are fun. As fits will be the first to tell you he misses bacon in the worst way, but they’re necessary to be able to maintain a comfortable healthy life for years and decades to come.

Mmm in conjunction with Cardiology advisor a Haymarket media publication presents me and my heart

me and my heart

is my heart me and my heart.

So sorry.

A couple of days after my procedure the fear did get to me.

The pain was but it was pretty excruciating. I think I could say that it was a weird stinging burning feeling all the way up my arm into not into my heart but stuck all up to the shoulder. I didn’t feel normal. I didn’t feel right and I didn’t know if it was normal and Google was not giving me the responses that I wanted when I tried to Google it. So I called my doctor and they said, you know, if you want to come get checked out we need to send an ambulance for you since you just had a heart procedure. It’s like, all right send the ambulance.

I ended up going to the ER got checked stayed overnight in the hospital hallway and in the morning the ER cardiologist.

Told me everything seemed fine.

I’m just a little on the younger side, which I like to hear and the doctor said that my arteries probably not as elastic as maybe a 72 year olds

for any patients that has had symptoms prior to having a heart stent procedure or bypass surgery or something like that. It’s important to remember what those initial symptoms felt like because often if it’s going to happen again it’ll manifest in the same way. The problem with that though is it makes patients extremely anxious because they’re kind of waiting for that to happen and it can happen anytime and and people almost live in fear. I know of scenarios where we have family members who are sort of watching the patient as they breathe at night because they’re afraid the patient’s gonna you know, not wake up and it’s hard to tell them but what we really want to say is you’re basically the same person you are that you were a week before it’s just we now know we have a diagnosis and we’ve treated so I think that over time those things can be kind of incorporated into the way.

People think about themselves. I also feel like it’s really helpful for people to remain very active because if you have a new heart blockage or there’s you know, blockage within the stent itself that usually manifests as a decrease in your ability to do exercise. So if you’re let’s say, you know walking 30 minutes a day at a certain Pace people will generally notice that you know, maybe I can’t walk at that same Pace I can’t walk for as long and those are signs that maybe there’s something going on for the patients that have no symptoms at all and it came out of the blue in some cases that’s even more concerning but that’s also why it’s really important to stay as active that we can be it’s hard to help patients.

And I feel identified by their disease not to feel like you know in I wake up in a whole I have to think about is how to manage my heart disease Chen Fang is a clinical strategist team lead and manager at Cardiology advisor a Haymarket media publication. The challenging part is giving them the skills to just have it be ingrained in the new version of who they are. The new you is to choose a healthier breakfast. The new you is to you know, after work have a routine of going to the gym once a day for an hour a day and I always find that that’s the hard part of reintegration and then also thinking about like, okay I have to go to my cardiologist on this day and having PCP on this day. I think when I see patients falling off the wagon or just not keeping up with their care. It’s the complication of heart disease as a whole right? It’s not just you take one tablet a day and you’re gonna be fine.

I’ve been on blood pressure pills for a long time already about

I’m gonna guess almost 10 years maybe.

High blood pressure runs in my family. My older brother was on pill since he was 28. My dad’s been on pills since he’s in his 30s and

I should have been on pills in my 20s, but I waited till I was in my 30s, but that was only two pills.

Heart disease now pushed my two daily pills up to five daily pills. I think that’s officially Grandpa status.

In addition to the blood pressure meds. I started taking Plavix, which I only took for three months low-dose aspirin and a nightly Statin.

Honestly, I was just prescribed these pills. I had no idea what really any of them did

basically when you put a step in the bloodstream. The stent is a foreign body and the Bloods inherent tendency is to clot on that step. It’s just like if you you know cut yourself you want to basically heal that injury and the same thing’s true. When you put a step then you stretch the artery and there’s a tendency to do that. So the aspirin and the Plavix work together, they’re both sort of these blood thinner type of medications to prevent that clotting from occurring and that’s especially critical in that early period so for that initial period that’s why it’s really critical to be on both aspirin and plavic and in the world wind of what’s happened that has gotten forgotten. There are some early studies early in the stent days where you know, almost 10% of patients. We’re not on their aspirated Plavix because it wasn’t emphasized so much and I’m sure that they emphasize that to you. You can now with the safer stents the newer Technologies come off of some of those blood thinner and one of

The things that people don’t think about Physicians is we just add medicines, right? We just write prescriptions and tell you to take them, but I personally like to only recommend the medicines of patients need so just like you did I would typically stop either the aspirin of the Plavix at three months for a stable patient. If you had a heart attack, we typically wait a little bit longer to do that the medicine that people also might be on or like statins or cholesterol lowering medic.

Unfortunately, that’s the lifer and the reason that’s a lifer is because whatever it was that caused this plaque to become as severe as it was it needs to be stabilized and in some cases regress further and it’s not just that the area we’ve treated it’s in other areas of the heart arteries too. And so the statins are clearly beneficial in terms of doing that. There are other cholesterol lowering agencies as well. They can do that and we try to get your bad cholesterol your LDL to a goal of you know under 55 or so, and that’s way lower than most people are used to like Internal Medicine docs might try to get your LDL less than 130 or 100. But when you have a stand it’s got to be less than 55 in some cases, you know even lower so that those are the key required medications and so I tell patients typically beyond that three month period you’re going to be on aspirin and a Statin or aspirin some cholesterol lowering medicine

the medications we have are so powerful that hard function is being improved from from

Are being nothing to being normal and we’re seeing that just with the Innovations in medication. Hi. I’m Dr. Suzanne steinbaum. I’m a preventive cardiologist with a focus on women and cardiovascular disease, but with the heart it is such a mechanical organ that our treatment strategies around improving the mechanism.

With other devices that these devices can actually make the heart function stronger.

So from prevention to treatment strategies, we’re at an incredible place when it comes to treating and improving the status of heart health in this country.

The week it happened.

I stopped eating like garbage.

stop eating meat

stop eating sugar.

and I

Put down the booze. Totally. I’m a guy who enjoyed all different styles of beer.

Oh that stuff.

Cut it out of my diet.

Went on a strictly vegan diet.

it was time to get back to life and actually it was time to

kind of in a way

start a new life.

Generally speaking heart

healthy diets, you really just want to reduce your overall carbs. Most people probably could lose some weight as well the way to do that is to do calorie restrictions and know exactly what you’re putting in but also people get a little bit our family member sometimes even get a little bit crazy with it. They’ll sort of say you need to change everything about yourself. You know. Now you have heart disease and once again that just, you know, really makes people depressed. I think that it’s good to do that the motivated patient, but you can’t do you know all these things at the same time to somebody because psychologically it can really mess with you. I don’t know if you had that experience as well. Like there’s this desire to do everything at the same time.

You know, it’s funny about that is it was the opposite my family was telling me I don’t have to stop doing this this and this and I stop doing everything. I stopped eating meat. I look at cholesterol and everything now I stopped with sugar. I went hardcore into everything and I lost like 40 pounds in like a month and a half I think which was crazy because I wasn’t even really bad overweight at all. You’re the ideal patient yourself.

Motivated you’re going to take it positively not negatively. There’s actually a pretty reasonable instance of people who have depression for instance after a heart attack. So if you didn’t have a heart attack, it was caught early you’re good other folks have had heart attacks often, you know, they have depression the clinical depression afterwards. And so every patient’s different you have to work with the patient the family but it’s more than just the procedure. It’s all this other aspect of the post procedural care, which I think you probably found to be pretty rewarding.

Yeah, and it’s amazing how differently you feel when you actually do change your diet totally to a fully plant-based diet and how quickly though I wasn’t I mean I was trying to lose weight, but honestly, I was just trying to keep all the bad fats and the cholesterol out of my body and that in turn it turned into dropping weight and feeling a lot healthier some of which I’ve gained back now that I know how unhealthy even a vegan diet can be if you’re just eating pizza and stuff every day.

That’s super important point that you make though. They really needs

Be emphasized because people assume that certain diets are going to be better. But if you go vegan and you don’t cut the carbs and you substitute everything for carbs, it’s actually not that great and you by the way, you can get, you know protein malnutrition at the same time. So everything you do is got to be thoughtful.

The one thing that I always remind people.

Is that the heart is it’s so intelligent it is so as an organ.

focused on getting healthy

and that we have medication that can get the heart healthier exercise is the most potent medication if I can call it that to really improve cardiac function to improve the health of the arteries.

So living with heart disease.

Is on a daily basis something that needs to be addressed by the one who’s living with it.

Following is 10 procedure Bill worked from home for a week. But even during that time he knew he was going to come back to our offices here in Chelsea.

Bill wasn’t starting a new life, but he was resuming his life in a New Direction gut back to work after about a week of being home.

I was still pretty anxious.

from the whole thing, but

I needed some kind of normalcy. So it was good to get on the train got into the office and although I hadn’t even been at Haymarket for a year at that point.

Everybody was coming up to me coworkers leadership team asking me home doing.

I was explaining to them my three months of symptoms that led up to this point because I’m an open book and I do it to try to get people to listen to their own bodies just in case they’re feeling anything strange.

That I dove back in designed a studio. I was installing some raised flooring Furniture gear.

While a couple of people were telling me to take it easy. I think they were worried about my health.

And though the workload the amount of content that I was produced and was starting to really rev up as the year and the month I should say went on

now if it wasn’t enough that bill went through months of cardiovascular ailments ultimately culminating in stent procedure. It gets even worse in mid February. He’s diagnosed with covid for the second time.

I got covid like a month after.

Like a month after having the procedure.

And it was it was as bad of a case of covid as I’ve had.

The fatigue was bad. I was nervous. So I called my cardiologist. He’s like

monitor it there’s not really much we can do you have covid?


Don’t forget I had it the first time which could be the cause for black buildup and arteries now

as the doctors that we interviewed for this podcast series can attest covid not only has profound impact on your respiratory system, but also on your cardiovascular system as well

people who had covid no matter what age their risk of heart events clotting has gone up exponentially this idea of long covid part of that is cardiac related and I don’t think we’ve all made that connection quite yet but we have to do because the the playing field is now being leveled now, it’s affecting all of us and we have to address it in a really different way than we have in the past

definitely during the you know, the big chunk of covid time. We saw a lot of patience that we’re currently in with blood clots that we’re in their lives blood clots in the lungs. There was a slight uptake in patients being diagnosed with heart attacks as well and that probably all comes from

Increased risk of covid having like a you’re creating rhombus or blockages from blood clots. My name is broth. Focaleria. I have an Interventional cardiologist. I practiced in Chicago, Illinois why that was the case. We really still don’t understand but most likely that created some type of inflammatory response within the whole body, which can increase the risk of blood clots before.

So we did see a big uptake of increased blood clots. Not only just during patients who are diagnosed with covid, but there was even an uptick even after patients were getting covid vaccinations.

That even the vaccine itself. Sometimes we would see a patient coming in two weeks later with the blood clots somewhere in their body who had really no other medical issues that would make you think that they should have this book on the first place.

so once we started looking at kind of what we were seeing on a day-to-day basis, we started to understand that there is some

risk of blood clots forming from covid. We really don’t have the full understanding as to why that is and so we are now the medications have become a lot better. We’re giving medicines a lot faster. So we’re not seeing as much of those blood clots for me in patients with covid because we’re just really doing a better job of diagnosing it quickly and treating it quickly.

In mid-spring bill is back in the office. Like anybody else only this time he’s recovered from his second bout of covid has a stent in his artery and is down about 40 pounds.


it’s not over yet.

Covid yeah, I got through covid. Most of us have had it so we know how bad that is.

trying to get back to work and

I started having this weird thing where every time I stood up I felt so dizzy. I came so close to passing out almost every single time including at the office and you know how it is when you first start getting symptoms, you don’t ignore it, but you’re like, all right. Maybe I just got up too fast.

But I didn’t as it turns out because I dropped so much weight so fast, my dose of blood pressure pills was too high. So I had to go to the emergency room again.

But that was a quick emergency room visit that was just for them to take my vitals as recommended by my cardiologist who was closed because I went on a Saturday.

So they took my vitals and then I went to the cardiologist and he lowered the dosage. So I was good. So I’m back to work not feeling like I’m gonna faint every time I stand up.

recording producing editing


so many podcasts across so many different brands that Haymarket media has while also still being a bit anxious. I’m I’m over the hump but you know still being very hyper aware of any minor pains or aches that I have within my chest.

Life is happening all around me with.

Children getting sick as they do as kids do family members passing away?

But still working to try to create truly.

Remarkable content which I think we did because we got nominated for a few Awards couple of podcast Awards.

Then we won PR week podcast one for best podcast. That’s the podcast that I was producing editing and voicing.

The night that I found out that I had a 90% blockage. We also won for McKnight’s McKnight’s newsmakers podcast.

and I even got nominated for a Haymarket media award which

I won

our second winner in the commercial Excellence category is

hey Market podcasting.

Oftentimes patients that experience heart disease and its symptoms feel like their life is over or that it will never be the same again. However, as we were told numerous times by clinicians that we interviewed for this podcast series, not only can you live with heart disease you can Excel with heart disease

build the most amazing thing about what happened to you. You’re not sick.

You’re gonna be fine.

Because it was caught.

you had a stent put in you didn’t have a massive heart attack and you are going to be

fine and I think the question and the story and the narrative is

How do we take control of our own health all year round? Not just February because it matters more than anything else that we stay healthy and that’s got to be the story

in some respects. It’s the teachable moment that you wish you didn’t have to have but honestly for many people we can come in the office and I can say you need to get your cholesterol down, but who wants to take a pill who wants to do all those other things sometimes when you have something like this happen, it serves as a very very powerful motivator. It’s interesting to hear you talk about that because when we interviewed Dr. Steinball, I’m a few weeks ago. She had said something to that effect. She said you are good you are you are living example of what heart disease can be you you’ve wanted a sense because you didn’t lose your life and you’re not, you know incapacity or anything. It’s so interesting year you talk about that where it’s like they’re almost has to be this kind of positive reinforcement for patients. So it’s like hey, you know life is not over you are not, you know defeating any sort of sense. Like there are ways that you’re gonna be able to live a fully functional

Life just understanding. This is part of that life. Yeah, I’ve had the experience where you say those pretty much exact words to a patient and their family and and either somebody the patient or the spouse, you know breaks down crime because they just needed to hear a physician say that yeah, I have this saying medicine and there’s obviously knowledge behind it and technology and all of that but it’s hard it’s common sense. And you know, this is common sense human interaction where somebody has something like this and they’re really freaking out. What did it mean to you?

To receive these Awards after all that you had been through at the start of the year.

I’m not one to usually seek out Awards or recognition.

I just want to know that.

the work that I’m doing

is helping the people around me and the company succeed while also educating.

entertaining inspiring

and evoking emotion in our listeners as dramatic as that sounds that is why I am here as a Creator. It’s why I do what I do.

but honestly though

with the way 2022 ended and 2023 began.

Healthwise and with everything that has happened in my life.

I think I kind of needed that. I think we all kind of need that.

Whether you’re going through health issues or not. We’re going through life.

And life is hard.

And to get recognition for busting your ass every single day.

Feels good. It feels even better knowing.

That I received these Awards being on a team with so many talented people but so many good people.

none of these Awards have only my name on them and that is rightfully so

because it takes such a huge collaborative effort.

To create the amazing things that we are creating.


I look forward to winning.

Way more in the future as I plan on being around at least another.

50 years is that crazy? But more importantly to creating something for our audiences that will inspire them educate them or at least entertain them.


cardiologists famous words to me which made me feel a lot better were you’re fixed?

You didn’t have a heart attack.

You’re fixed. You have no restrictions.

Go live your life. Go running. Obviously be healthier go play with your kids and and have a good life.

On the next

episode of me and my heart

what happens if we pick up disease so early that we can actually reverse it before it manifests

Medical Society. We’re not really good about preventative care still especially with men most men in their 30s have never seen a doctor

shouldn’t be things that you just can’t fix but what I can do for a patient is called their insurance and explain the situation be like we need to get over our for this or what documentation do you need to get this improved it goes along with, you know, so soon economic disparities other types disparities and and it’s just hard for people who are not in, you know, try staying area to necessarily get the care that they need.