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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Same exam room, same doctor, Naeem Tahirkheli, but two heart patients with different symptoms.

A decade ago, Pam Barfelz had a minor heart attack and a stent installed to relieve the blockage.

She was scared from then on.

“I kept having chest pains,” she recalls.

Every ache and pain felt like ‘the big one’ resulting in multiple ER visits only to be sent home.

“One year, I went in 16 times [to the ER],” she said.

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Dr. Naeem Tahirkheli checking patient Pam Barfelz’s heart. Image KFOR

Sam Hutchison didn’t have any symptoms to speak of, but he had a heart attack too, and stents implanted surgically.

He thought that solved the problem.

Without the device – about the size and shape of a pacemaker – installed in his upper chest, he would never have known about a second heart attack that he thinks might have killed him.

Instead, that device warned him to head straight for the hospital.

“Do you think it saved your life?” asks a visitor.

“Oh yes!” responds Hutchison.

Dr. T says The Guardian “is seeing something the patient doesn’t even feel.”

It’s been more than a decade now that Dr. Tahirkheli started testing what’s called The Guardian at Mercy’s Oklahoma Heart Hospital South.

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The Guardian, image KFOR

The device is attached to a wire that trails inside the patient’s heart, taking important readings every 90 seconds, and compares them to a baseline.

If it’s a minor issue, one warning instructs them to call their doctor.

If it’s a heart attack, the warning tells the patient to head directly to the hospital.

“As soon as they heard the alarm, they headed to the Emergency Room pretty fast, as opposed to other patients without the device trying to figure out if it’s the real thing or not,” says Dr. Tahirkheli.

Pam’s condition improved, so, she had her Guardian device taken out a few years ago.

Sam still has his, a trouble alarm for his ticker, constantly taking readings and giving him the peace of mind that says if anything is wrong, he’ll be the first to know.

For more information on The Guardian device, go to