The Widow Maker Mostly a Heart Breaker
It is the most devastating of heart attacks: the widow maker – named because it almost always ends badly.
“Because it happens in one of the main blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart or what we call left anterior descending artery. When it is completely shut off there is no oxygen going to the heart,” says Lee Memorial Health System cardiologist, Dr. Murali Muppala.
A sudden blockage, the survival rate is 5-10%. Grim by its nature and it’s suddenness.
“That’s why most of the sudden cardiac arrests that happen, half of them die before they reach the hospital. And majority of them are related to widow maker heart attacks,” says Dr. Muppala.
Calling 911 immediately can be the difference between life and death. Too often people ignore warning signs or drive themselves to the hospital. Taking an ambulance gives paramedics a chance to get the wheels of treatment rolling.
“They activate the emergency, they also activate the cardiologist and the cath lab team immediately. If we find a blockage we try to open it up immediately,” says Dr. Muppala.
The best way to cheat the widow maker is to avoid it. Being aware of risk factors including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Even if these are fine, you may still face a personal risk.
“If you know that someone in your family has a heart attack your chance of having heart attack is definitely higher then those folks who did not have a family history,” says Dr. Muppala.
Taking away the element of surprise may help you avoid a heart-breaking event.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.