Rick Bottini is an avid runner, hiker and gym enthusiast who has completed three 50-mile “Rock the Ridge” races. But it was a 5K run in Rhinebeck that brought him down.
It was during the 2021 Thanksgiving Turkey Trot when Bottini collapsed at the halfway mark.
“My heart stopped,” Bottini, 64, recalled. “Lucky for me, my girlfriend, Margie, was behind me and caught my fall and an EMT who by chance was doing his first race performed CPR on me. Thank God he was there.”
Bottini suffered a heart attack and was taken to Northern Dutchess Hospital where he was stabilized. When it was determined he needed cardiac surgery, Bottini was transferred to Vassar Brothers Medical Center.
Cardiovascular surgeons with The Heart Center performed a triple bypass on Bottini, a procedure where blood vessels are taken from other areas of the body to replace diseased coronary arteries and improve blood flow. The Heart Center, a division of Hudson Valley Cardiovascular Practice, P.C., is part of Nuvance Health Medical Practices.
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“I can’t tell you how great the staff at both hospitals were,” Bottini of Wappingers Falls said. “Being part of a network truly helps save lives.”
Following cardiac rehabilitation at Vassar, Bottini felt strong enough to participate in the 2022 Rhinebeck Turkey Trot, he said. This time, he had some 30 people cheering him on as he crossed the finish line in under 30 minutes. He is now training for his fourth “Rock the Ridge” race next year.
Bottini said he never had cardiovascular issues prior to his heart attack and has been physically active since he was 18. He has made it is his mission to tell friends and family to get checked out by a cardiologist. Several have, he said, and are being treated for cardiac conditions they didn’t know they had.
“They think they need to go to the city for cardiac care,” Bottini said. “I tell them my experience, my outcomes and that they are well covered and will receive great care at The Heart Center.”
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This story is one patient’s experience, recounted here for educational and general informational purposes only.