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Old 07-01-2011, 12:46 PM   #1
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Exclamation Can a man die without immediate warning, suddenly of heart attack

My father died about a month ago and I have a few questions/concerns regarding his death. First off he was young, 54, and his death was very shocking and totally unexpected for everyone.

Here's what happened. It was on a sunday. He woke up and like every other sunday ate breakfast with my mom as they were going to walk their dogs (a sunday morning ritual for them). He acted no differently than he normally does--he laughed, joked with me, ate without a problem, etc.

And then the unthinkable happened. Right as he was going to leash up one of their dogs he just collapsed right in front of my Mom, his heart stopped. NO warning WHATSOEVER. He didnt complain of chest pain or numbness that is associated with a person just before they are about to have a heart attack, he didnt act funny--no signs, NOTHING.

We called a paramedic and they got there within 5 minutes. During the time we waited my Mom and I were administering CPR. Paramedics arrived and he was rushed to the emergency. Long story short, he never regained conscionsness. He had a massive heart attack.

This has been the most devastating thing to happen to us. I'm not coping well at all. Im 25 years old and my father is gone. He was active and should of had at least 20 more years left. I just have so many questions, I dont understand how this could of happened. My father did have a "silent" heart attack about 15 years ago which he had to have a stint put in, but absolutely no problems since then. He did however continue to smoke. Hes been smoking since he was 20.

Im just a little suspicious about things. Everyone thing Ive read online says that there is at LEAST some kind of warning leading up to a heart attack. I mean he literally just collapsed without a word or a single sound and never came to. He was hanging around some friends the night before drinking (he was a social drinker) and having a good time. No autopsy was done because the hospital believed that since he had that silent heart attack years ago that it was basically just heart disease related, and the medical examiner apparently came to the same conclusion. Can a heart attack really strike in this manner?

 
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: Can a man die without immediate warning, suddenly of heart attack

If he had a clot in one of the big arteries to the heart it could hit without warning. I'm sorry about your father- it must be hard dealing with the suddenness of his demise.

pup

 
Old 07-01-2011, 04:30 PM   #3
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Re: Can a man die without immediate warning, suddenly of heart attack

My sympathies for your father.

In a large percentage of cardiac deaths, the first and only symptom is sudden death.

I had a massive MI at age 47, with a totally blocked left descending artery. For some reason, my heart kept beating even though its rhythm was drastically affected. I am grateful that my heart stubbornly kept going. But too often in such a case the heart simply goes into ventricular fibrillation. That's fatal unless there is very quick access to electrical defibrillation to restore the heart's rhythm.

CPR will sometimes keep the brain oxygenated until the heart can be electrically defibrillated, but the truth is that CPR is effective only in a very small percentage of cases occuring outside immediate access to a defibrillator. There is only about 4 minutes between cessation of blood circulation and brain death.

Did your father have regular cardiac checkups? Having a stent installed at age 37 or so should have signified that regular checkups were needed but unfortunately that is 20/20 hindsight. Coronary artery disease is rather implacable, and smoking certainly spurs it along.

Following my heart attack, I had 6 coronary bypasses. Then, after onset of angina and atrial fibrillation many years later, I have come to trust my cardiologists with my life, I guess. I have an ICD implanted to deliver a defibrillating shock if needed and have made it to age 85. Hope to keep going for a few more years.

This is long winded and I apologize for its length, but the whole area of cardiac problems and treatment is complex. I can understand your feeling that there should have been some warning. But in about 40% of cardiac deaths, the only warning is sudden death.

 
Old 07-06-2011, 08:59 AM   #4
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Unhappy Re: Can a man die without immediate warning, suddenly of heart attack

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzickle View Post
My sympathies for your father.

In a large percentage of cardiac deaths, the first and only symptom is sudden death.

I had a massive MI at age 47, with a totally blocked left descending artery. For some reason, my heart kept beating even though its rhythm was drastically affected. I am grateful that my heart stubbornly kept going. But too often in such a case the heart simply goes into ventricular fibrillation. That's fatal unless there is very quick access to electrical defibrillation to restore the heart's rhythm.

CPR will sometimes keep the brain oxygenated until the heart can be electrically defibrillated, but the truth is that CPR is effective only in a very small percentage of cases occuring outside immediate access to a defibrillator. There is only about 4 minutes between cessation of blood circulation and brain death.

Did your father have regular cardiac checkups? Having a stent installed at age 37 or so should have signified that regular checkups were needed but unfortunately that is 20/20 hindsight. Coronary artery disease is rather implacable, and smoking certainly spurs it along.

Following my heart attack, I had 6 coronary bypasses. Then, after onset of angina and atrial fibrillation many years later, I have come to trust my cardiologists with my life, I guess. I have an ICD implanted to deliver a defibrillating shock if needed and have made it to age 85. Hope to keep going for a few more years.

This is long winded and I apologize for its length, but the whole area of cardiac problems and treatment is complex. I can understand your feeling that there should have been some warning. But in about 40% of cardiac deaths, the only warning is sudden death.
After he had the stent put in he went to regular checks for maybe 2-3 years afterwards, but then stopped. He hated going to doctors and there was no talking him into doing anything he didn't want to do.

As I said in the thread The ambulance arrived in 5 minutes. They used defibulators to shock him. I don't see how they couldn't get his heart going again wih the defibulators if it was just 5 minutes after it stopped. My dad never knew he was gonna die. It was a day like any other.

You are very lucky to have had a MI so long ago and still be alive. Did you smoke back then?

My father was only 54. He had been unjustly taken from me, my mother and sisters. I've never in my life heard of a person spontaneously dying from a heart attack at such a young age, until it happened to my dad. I don't think ill ever get over this, and the fact that an autopsy was never performed before he was creamated will always make me wonder the rest of my life.

 
Old 07-07-2011, 06:15 AM   #5
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Re: Can a man die without immediate warning, suddenly of heart attack

I'm so sorry to hear about your father, losing a parent at your age has to be traumatic.

It can happen though; it's called Sudden Cardiac Arrest, sadly something like 350,000 people in the US die abruptly from this. I'm not sure where you are, but if not in the US then you can research Sudden Cardiac Arrest SCA/SCD in your country.

Some think SCA is a heart attack but it's not; SCA is an electrical problem and heart attacks are a plumbing problem (this is how my EP explained it to me).

What happens is the heart function ceases abruptly and without warning; over 90% of patients who have this die unexpectedly. Since your father had previous heart disease it's most likely he suffered some things he didn't complain of and since he didn't see dr's recently there may have been something he thought was normal that wasn't.

Many patients with prior CAD or coronary arterial disease develop arrhythmia's, some are malignant arrhythmia's. What happens is the ventricles fire very rapidly which is VT or ventricular tachycardia and go into VF/ventricular Fibrillation, which causes sudden death to occur. In most cases with SCA/SCD, there are no warning signs or symptoms. Some patients can be revived if defibrillation is provided within the first minute.

Again I'm so sorry to hear about your father, my oldest son is 25 and I don't know if he could handle if something happened to one of us parents. My sympathies to you and your family.

Hopefully I've explained correctly, if not let me know and I'll try to help more.

 
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