Bob Mohalski Find a Location Find a Doctor Heart & Vascular Advanced Heart Failure Management Center Arrhythmia Center Diagnostic Testing Treatments/Procedures Cardiology Heart Attack Care Minimally Invasive Procedures Cardio-Oncology Cardiac Rehab Clinical Research Diagnostic Services Heart Surgery Patient Success Stories Prevention & Wellness AHA Training Center CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit Hands-only CPR Healing Hearts Women's Support Group Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips My Heart Rocks Take Time For Your Heart Women and Heart Disease Tobacco Cessation E-cigarette Education Fresh Start Tobacco Cessation Nicotine Medication Nicotine Replacement Nicotine Therapy Success Stories Tobacco Cessation Resources Valve Center Aortic Valve Replacement Mitral Valve Surgery Your Hospital Stay Care After Heart Surgery Intensive Care for Heart Conditions Nurses with Heart Care Expertise Partners in Heart Care Transitional Care Units Revolutionary Pulmonary Embolism Treatment Gets Bob Back in His Woodshop When he woke up in the middle of the night with a racing heart, Bob Mohalski thought he was having an asthma attack. After he started wheezing and hyperventilating, Bob used his nebulizer. When that did little good, Bob knew he had to get to the ER fast. In the ER, all of Bob’s symptoms pointed to asthma, which he has had for 40 years. Still, the St. Elizabeth emergency department physicians and his primary care physician wanted to be extra cautious; they admitted him to the hospital so they could monitor his steroid asthma treatment. The next day, Bob’s condition wasn’t improving as expected. When he suffered sudden breathing problems while walking to the restroom in his hospital room, his care team acted swiftly. “Within seconds, there were three residents and three nurses around me,” Bob said. “I remember one of the nurses holding my hand and telling me everything was going to be okay as the team got me to a monitored hospital bed.” Once stabilized, Bob had a CT scan, which revealed two pulmonary emboli, or blood clots, in his lungs; Bob had a blood clot the size of a golf ball in each lung. A pulmonary embolism hinders proper blood flow to the body and, if left untreated, can travel to the brain and cause death. Bob was immediately taken to an interventional suite, where Interventional Radiologists Dr. Brian Lawler and Dr. Darren Hurst performed the revolutionary new EKOS® procedure that saved Bob’s life. Through a catheter (a tiny tube) in Bob’s neck, the physicians inserted a microscopic ultrasound wand into Bob’s lungs that simultaneously delivered the clot-busting drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) directly into the clots and used sound waves to break them up. Within 30 minutes, doctors dissolved both clots and Bob’s lungs were clear. “The biggest benefit of this new catheter-based procedure is that we can better target a blood clot,” said Dr. Lawler. “Instead of injecting tPA into a vein, we now inject it directly into the clot. This, paired with ultrasound waves, allows us to break down pulmonary emboli faster and with significantly decreased risk of adverse bleeding.” St. Elizabeth established a formal program for treating pulmonary embolism in 2015 to provide a more effective response to patients with this life-threatening condition and ensure that all patients who would benefit from the EKOS procedure would be quickly referred and treated. Bob is thankful to the entire St. Elizabeth staff and grateful that such an advanced treatment can be found close to his home in Northern Kentucky. “I was facing a very dangerous situation,” said Bob. “I’m sharing my story because I want more people to know that St. Elizabeth offers this state-of-the-art procedure. If more physicians and patients know about it, more lives can be saved.” Now fully recovered, Bob spends most of his time with his wife, Karen, whom he affectionately calls “Superwife,” and creating custom furniture and other carpentry projects in his home woodshop. Heart & Vascular Services For more information about the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute, click here.