Heart Week: Reaction speed key in surviving a heart attack

(WIAT) — Throughout this year’s installment of Heart Week, CBS42 is teaming up with the American Heart Association to bring you critical information that could save your life.

We begin our coverage today with the story of a man who showed the ways you can act fast to survive a heart attack.

Aubrey Hill, 64, recently survived a heart attack where he arrived at the hospital just in time.

“I went to the doctor and they took an EKG and said, ‘We’re sending you to the emergency room by ambulance’,” Hill said. “I had a heartbeat of 190. The ambulance guys said usually people with this EKG don’t have a pulse, meaning they usually aren’t talking.”

Hill received a stent in his heart three days later and was himself again. Nowadays he’s active and healthy, but back then suffering a heart attack was still quite a shock for him. Though Hill says now that the warning signs for the heart attack were evident, they were also subtle.

“Couldn’t feel the 190 beats per minute. Why? I don’t know,” Hill said. “But the night before, [I was in] pain and I was sweating profusely, so I decided to go.”

Dr. Jimmie Dotson is a cardiologist at Grandview Medical Center, and he says that Hill made the right decision.

“The longer you go, the heart is deprived of oxygen,” Dotson said. “We have certain endovascular techniques that we can do to revascularize the patient. When you’re having a heart attack, the vessel is 100 percent occluded most of the time. We can go in with balloons and stents and open the artery up and try to get oxygen back to the heart muscle as fast as we can.”

Dotson told CBS42 News that action time is crucial to increasing your chances of surviving a heart attack.

“You need to call 911 immediately because as time goes along, that’s muscle that can be damaged,” Dotson said. “So even if you don’t know that it’s even a heart attack, you need to get to your hospital facility as soon as possible.”

Hill knows firsthand that you should not ignore those warning signs after surviving his ordeal.

“You tend to think, ‘Well it’s whatever. It’s this. It’s nothing serious and it will go away’,’ Hill said. “But if it doesn’t go away after a little while, there’s probably something wrong.”

At 10 p.m. tonight, we talk to a young woman who also survived a heart attack and learn the signs that can save a life.  Don’t miss her amazing story on how she defeated the odds.


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