Fred

Photo: Fred Miller, Heart Institute PatientPeople sometimes say to Fred Miller, 75, "I want to look as good as you do.” He gives Virginia Mason cardiologists a lot of the credit for that. When Fred recently had an episode of angina — pain in the chest when the heart isn't getting enough oxygen-rich blood — his primary care physician did an EKG on his heart. It looked fine. Further testing, however, revealed that Fred's coronary arteries were not functioning properly and two weeks later he was admitted to Virginia Mason for quintuple-bypass surgery on his heart.

Four days later, Fred says he was feeling good enough to go home. His physical therapist, however, said he wasn't going anywhere until he could walk down the hall and up some stairs on his own. Fred just couldn't do it. That same morning, one of his cardiologists came by to check on him. "He's the kind of person who lights up a room," says Fred, "and he inspired me to keep trying." That evening, when the physical therapist came back, he walked down the hall and up the stairs. No problem.

"It's wonderful to feel so good and to want to take walks and be active. I don't worry about my health. If I have any concerns, they're going to be addressed quickly by my doctors at Virginia Mason. I'm confident about that."

A successful businessman, Fred sold his laminated art business three years ago and today keeps active on his five-acre property in Monroe, Wash., where he and his wife, Renee, look after two dogs and three horses. Fred continues to be monitored closely at Virginia Mason and he appreciates that the medical center "is exceptionally well run. When they say 'team medicine,' they mean it. Everyone contributes to answering your questions and helping you get better."

Not long ago, a CT scan at Virginia Mason revealed a block in Fred's carotid artery. Surgery was one of the treatment options and Fred is glad he made that decision. During the operation, physicians found that the blockage was much worse than the CT scan showed. "I feel like the doctors pay close attention to everything and if they find a problem, the attitude is 'let's find a solution.'"

Fred says that he's had no side effects from his surgeries. To make sure his heart stays healthy, he does special workouts with a trainer whose father had open heart surgery. "I'm looking forward to spring so I can get outside more," he says. "It's wonderful to feel so good and to want to take walks and be active. I don't worry about my health. If I have any concerns, they're going to be addressed quickly by my doctors at Virginia Mason. I'm confident about that."