Keith Schrader

Flagstaff resident Keith Schrader is an avid reader, plays golf, authors a daily newspaper article he sends to his granddaughters, and in one year, has logged hundreds of hours as a Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC) volunteer.

But last January, he was rushed to FMC’s Emergency Department where doctors discovered three blocked arteries in his heart. A heart catheter test revealed that Keith needed at least six stents to alleviate the blockages.

In February, he underwent a quad bypass performed by renowned interventional cardiologist, Eric Cohen, M.D. Keith also needed to take an aspirin every day for the rest of his life. No problem, right? Wrong.

Keith was allergic to aspirin. Even a baby aspirin shut down his breathing. The hospital had to find a way to desensitize him or the surgery couldn’t take place. That’s when they turned to Omar Wani, M.D., one of the physicians at Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona.

While being monitored, Dr. Wani started Keith on one milligram of aspirin, with the dose gradually increasing every half hour until he could tolerate 325 milligrams.

“I’m now desensitized to one aspirin a day,” Keith says. “If I miss taking the aspirin more than two days, I need to be desensitized all over again to make sure I’m not going to have a reaction. The process takes awhile. I watched World Championship Poker the whole time!”

Today, Keith is back to normal and participates in cardiac rehab three times a week. He’s also a dedicated volunteer, working at the hospital’s Gift Shop, Information Desk, and for its Mended Hearts program.

“I see heart patients and their families and let them know there’s life after open-heart surgery,” Keith says. “A lot of people bring their family members here from other cities and states because the care is so excellent.”

Keith says he sees Drs. Cohen and Wani in the hospital often, and they always stop to chat. “From the kitchen staff to the doctors, you couldn’t ask for better treatment.”