A Second Chance

By Eve Wee-Ang 2023-07-27 14:50:39

Jiahui's cardiac team revived patient’s heart.

Jeffrey Lehman is a 66-year-old American who has lived in Shanghai since 2012. He is the Vice Chancellor of NYU Shanghai who leads an active lifestyle.

Jeffrey Lehman, Vice Chancellor of NYU Shanghai


Last summer during dinner, he suddenly felt a strong tightening in his chest followed by a gripping pain. Jeffrey was rushed to Jiahui International Hospital where he was sent for a series of tests. In less than thirty minutes, the emergency response cardiac team were alerted where they rushed from their homes. They were Dr Fei Minzhong and Dr He Yaping, Cardiologists led by Dr Wei Meng, Chief of Cardiology and Chairman of Medicine.

Doctors confirmed that Jeffrey was experiencing acute myocardial infarction – the medical term for heart attack when the flow of blood is blocked by a clog in the heart vessel. To save his life, an operation would need to be performed within the next 90 minutes. In a heart attack emergency, time is of essence. Jeffrey was wheeled to the operation theatre where a team of medical professionals were already on standby.

During the surgery, the cardiac team identified blockage on his heart vessel, left anterior descending artery. A balloon angioplasty was performed, and stents were inserted in his heart vessel. The operation was a success.

However, it was not the end. Cardiac rehabilitation is an important post-surgery journey that patients embark on for recovery and prevention. *Statistics have shown that cardiac patients have a 47% lower risk of death for those who complete at least 36 sessions of cardiac rehabilitation. The doctors’ prescription for Jeffrey included a full-year comprehensive rehabilitation regime:

1. Embark on a gradual cardio rehabilitation programme to improve heart function, strength, flexibility, and balance.

2. Take a cocktail of medication daily to keep blood pressure and lipids low so that the heart muscle could do the slow work of healing.

3. Adopt a Mediterranean diet with low salt and moderate calorie restriction.

4. Every three months, return for a series of comprehensive heart stress tests and mental health assessments so that the cardiac team can track progress and recovery.

5. Be a “patient patient” as recovery takes time.


Jeffery completed 36 sessions of cardiac rehabilitation and 35 external counterpulsations monitered by a Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test at the beginning and end of the whole rehabilitation programme to evaluate Jeffrey’s heart and lung tolerance. These sessions included strength and resistance training, stretching, and stationary bicycling.

It’s nearly a year since Jeffrey’s night of terror. The cardiac team and Jeffrey have been working closely together to aid in his recovery. Their efforts have paid off. Jeffrey is now leading a normal life and is healthier than before.

“I am profoundly grateful for the doctors’ and nurses’ skills and talents as well as their kindness and humanity. If it were not for the Jiahui International Hospital team, I might not be alive today.”


*Source: Hammill BG, Curtis LH, Schulman KA, Whellan DJ.

Left to right: Dr He Yaping, Dr Wei Meng, Jeffrey Lehman, Dr Fei Minzhong and Rehabilitation Therapist Li Yao Yao