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4/21/2013 6:00:00 AM
Kingman heart doctor is worth the trip for Michigan man
KRMC/CourtesyFrank Coutts and his wife, Cheri, traveled to Kingman from Michigan this month just so Dr. Dennis Dunning could clear Coutts’ blocked artery. Coutts was first treated by Dunning in 2010 in Michigan after experiencing heart trouble and sought him out again after a repeat occurrence earlier this year.
KRMC/Courtesy

Frank Coutts and his wife, Cheri, traveled to Kingman from Michigan this month just so Dr. Dennis Dunning could clear Coutts’ blocked artery. Coutts was first treated by Dunning in 2010 in Michigan after experiencing heart trouble and sought him out again after a repeat occurrence earlier this year.




Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - A Michigan man flew four hours to Las Vegas and then drove two hours in order to have a Kingman doctor fix his heart.

Frank Coutts is a retired firefighter and paramedic who lives near Detroit in West Bloomfield, Mich. He traveled to Kingman just to have Dr. Dennis Dunning look at the veins and arteries leading into his heart.

Dunning specializes in diagnosing and treating problems with blood flow to the heart and to the limbs before they become a major problem. He also fixes structural problems in the heart. He practiced medicine in Grand Rapids, Mich., for 10 years before coming to Kingman Regional Medical Center in 2011. He helped start KRMC's vascular center in January.

Coutts met Dunning in Grand Rapids in 2010 while seeking treatment for a heart problem.

"In 2008, I started having heart issues," Coutts said. "I didn't take good care of myself."

At that time, a doctor cleaned out two arteries on the left side of Coutts' heart and installed two stents, tiny mesh tubes that prop open blood vessels.



Blocked

During the surgery, the doctor found another problem with Coutts' heart.

"He told me one of the vessels on the right side of my heart was totally blocked," Coutts said.

The doctor told him his body was using smaller blood vessels to bypass the blockage. The problem was the blockage was so large that it nearly filled the entire blood vessel.

"He couldn't get in there to clean it out. He told me there was nothing he could do," Coutts said.

Coutts lived with the blocked blood vessel for another two years before he started experiencing tightness around his neck while attending a Homeland Security conference in west Michigan in 2010.

"It was like someone was choking me," he said. "You know everyone experiences different signs of heart trouble. Most men get the feeling that an elephant is sitting on their chest or pain in their arm. I get a tightness in my throat."

He went to the emergency room at Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids.

"I can see this big hospital right across the street from my hotel. So I go over there and as I'm going through the check-in process, everyone is telling me I really need to go to West Michigan Heart Group," Coutts said. "So I ask to be transferred there. I get transferred to the Michigan Heart Group and everyone there is telling me I need to ask for a Dr. Dennis Dunning. So I ask for him."

Dunning examined Coutts' heart with a tiny catheter that was threaded through one of his blood vessels. He told Coutts he was able to push a small wire through the blockage on the left side of his heart.

Coutts was ecstatic.

"The other doctor said he couldn't get a wire in there. He couldn't clean it out," Coutts said.

Coutts set up an appointment and few months later, Dunning cleaned out the blockage and installed four stents to support the vessel.

"If you saw the before pictures, the area looked withered with nothing in it. In the after pictures, the artery was fully engorged with blood flowing through it like a garden hose." He adds, "This gave me a lot of faith in Dr. Dunning's ability."

Coutts went back for a few checkups and then life went back to normal.



Familiar feeling

Things were rolling along smoothly until the beginning of the new year, when Coutts started to get that familiar choking feeling again. He went to the doctor, who told him it might be a problem with one of the stents.

"I told him I wanted to get a second opinion from Dr. Dunning. He was very professional about it and told me that it would be all right with him," Coutts said. "I wanted to see him for the confidence I had in his skills."

He called the office in Grand Rapids and found out Dunning had moved and was practicing medicine in Kingman.

"Kingman, Arizona? Where's Kingman, Arizona?" Coutts asked. He looked up Kingman online, located Dunning's office at KRMC and called.

"I told them I was from Michigan and they said they would make special accommodations for me. If I could get a flight and get to Kingman, they would do the surgery the day after I arrived," he said. "I had to check with Medicare and my insurance to make sure I was covered and then I found a flight, booked it and called the office to make an appointment."

Coutts arrived on April 8 and Dunning did the procedure on April 9. Dunning found that tissue had grown into one of the stents and was blocking part of the blood flow to Coutts' heart.

Dunning cleaned out the blockage and enlarged the stent using a tiny balloon at the end of the catheter. The procedure began at 9 a.m. and Coutts was out of the hospital by 3 p.m.

"It was a really pleasant outcome," Coutts said. "We're used to busy, mega-complex hospitals where people are impersonal. KRMC is a beautiful facility where everyone was very friendly.

"I don't want to sound like an advertisement for Kingman Regional or for Dr. Dunning, but you have a great resource here. I probably wouldn't come back for something small. It's a long flight. But I would definitely come back for something serious."

Dunning's office, Kingman Cardiovascular Services, is located in Suite 217 at the KRMC Medical Professional Center, 1739 Beverly Avenue.

For more information, contact his office at (928) 681-8724.

ICT - Dr. Mohtaseb
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• KRMC consolidates vascular care options


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. It is great to know we have this wonderful Dr. here. I left my favorite cardiologist in another state so good to know we have this one here.


Best wishes to the recipient of the good care. For my money, KRMC has always given my family good care.


Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Article comment by: Kathryn Former PSR

Dr. Dunning and his staff are a remarkable medical team. Excellent write-up and best wishes for continued success in Kingman!

Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Article comment by: Chelsea Lynn

Dr. Dunning is a great doctor! I am young and have experienced sharp chest pain since I was in my teens. Doctors couldn't figure out what it was I went to Dr. Dunning and he discovered I need to talk Calcium blockers. He's very blunt and honest which I like. Great doctor! Glad he was able to help this man.



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