Springs man adds 20 years to life with quality cardiac care

Dan and Marilyn Danielson, courtesy photo

Look for Heart Health features on gazette.com/heart throughout American Heart Month, sponsored by Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.

Twenty years ago, Dan Danielson had a heart attack. “It wasn’t really a surprise, my father died at 59 from a heart attack,” he said. “When I reached 60, we joked that something would happen, and within days, it did.”

Dan had an angioplasty and went through rehabilitation at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. He continued to receive treatment at Penrose-St. Francis over the course of 17 years, including seven cardioversions, a procedure that restores arrhythmic heartbeats to a normal rhythm. Penrose-St. Francis is part of the Centura Health Heart and Vascular Network, the region’s leading provider of cardiovascular care.

In October 2013, Dan underwent quintuple bypass surgery and in 2015, he received a defibrillator to help with his irregular heartbeats. He participated in three months of cardiac rehabilitation two or three times weekly at Penrose-St. Francis.

“We could not have asked for more complete care from the folks at Penrose,” Dan said. “Something that should be sort of traumatic was actually a pleasant experience, from the people at the front desk when you sign in to the blood work and food folks, I just cannot say enough about them.”

Dr. Christian M. Simpfendorfer, MD, has served as Dan’s primary cardiologist at Penrose-St. Francis. “I’ve been so impressed with him through the years, he’s given incredible care,” Dan said. “The joy of it is we have amazing care now, far better than what my father had access to at his age. When it comes to your heart, every day’s an adventure.”

Dan, who served 24 years active duty in the United States Army as a chaplain, is now 79 and exercises at least five days a week to keep up his strength. He is enjoying his senior years with his wife of 55 years, Marilyn Danielson, and two sons and nine grandchildren.

“We say it so often, but every day is truly a gift,” Dan said. “We have a strong faith, I believe my life is part of God’s plan, and however long he wants it to go on, it will. I am grateful for the time I’ve been given and I hope to be around for more.”

Pikes Peak Newspapers, Editor

Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years. She studied journalism at Kansas State University and enjoys biking, skiing and hiking in the Rockies.

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