Allen Resident Wants Others to Heed His Warning: Don’t Ignore the Signs of a Heart Attack
David Seegers can relate to the “Biggest Loser” host and fitness trainer Bob Harper. Both men had a heart attack in their early 50’s. But both men are thankful to be alive to tell their stories, along with the benefits of cardiac rehab.
Seegers, a 52-year-old Allen resident, isn’t a fitness guru like Harper, but his March 1st heart attack still caught him by surprise.
“I had just gotten dressed for work when I felt strong chest pain. It wasn’t the chest-clinching type pain, so I brushed it off,” Seegers said. “Five minutes later, I started sweating, dripping wet. I was sweating like never before. I knew something was definitely wrong.”
“When I got there, all I could say was, ‘chest pains.’”
Several emergency room staff immediately began protocol for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, known by many as a STEMI. To determine the cause of his chest pains, the care team, made up of physicians on the medical staff and nurses, started a physical examination, performed an EKG and administered nitroglycerine pills.
Each year, according to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2017 statistics, approximately 250,000 Americans have a STEMI, which is a heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. Not only that; close to 790,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks every year, and 114,000 will end up dying from their heart attacks, according to AHA.
“He was having the classic heart attack,” said Dr. John Lee, a cardiologist on the Texas Health Allen medical staff. “He had a blocked artery on the left side of his heart. We inserted a catheter in his right leg to address the blockage, and he was fully awake during the entire procedure.”
According to Dr. Lee, the door-to-balloon time was 31 minutes. In general terms, door-to-balloon time is a measurement of the time a person arrives at the hospital to the time the device in the heart is opening up the blood flow.
“That’s an impressive time,” Dr. Lee said. Currently, national guidelines encourage door-to-balloon times to be 90 minutes or less.
Seegers’s story can serve as an eye-opener for many individuals. “He had a heart attack at 52 years old. Before the heart attack, he was relatively healthy. He wasn’t obese and he wasn’t on medications, yet he still suffered a heart attack.”
Fast-forward five weeks later, Seegers is gung-ho about recovery, thanks to cardiac rehab.
“I’m young, and I still had a heart attack. But now I feel good, and I’m doing what I need to do. Exercising, eating right and listening to my doctor.”
Please Note: If you fear someone is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1. Paramedics can often start treatments as soon as they arrive on scene, before the patient gets to the hospital.
Texas Health is proud to say we care for more hearts than any other health care system in North Texas. For more information, visit Texas Health Allen’s cardiac rehab website or call 1-877-THR-WELL.