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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Khurshid Khan doesn’t appear to have heart attack risk factors. “We are all healthy, walk everyday a lot,” he said. “I watch what I eat.”
So when Khan began experiencing what felt like indigestion earlier this month, he initially dismissed it. Then he became extremely weak and nauseous—before experiencing a cold sweat.
“After three to four minutes, I thought ‘no’, this is not that pain that you wanted,” he recalled. “So, I told my wife and my daughter: call 911. And they should take me to Medical City.” The hospital is just minutes from their home and this patient knew better than most that seconds count. Khan has a medical practice in Mesquite.
Dr. Michael Isaac, Medical Director of Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes at Medical City, had been alerted that a patient was on the way. “I don’t know who it was, where they were,” he said. “But, I knew they were having a big heart attack based on the EKG I saw — I mean a big one.”
It’s why doctors say anyone experiencing symptoms that could be a heart attack should call 911 immediately. Paramedics sent that EKG to Dr. Isaac’s phone while the ambulance was still in route. He knew exactly what to expect and how to remove the blockage.
“There’s no good heart attack,” Dr. Isaac explained, gesturing to scans showing the blood flow completely stopped. “That one covers so much heart muscle, if it closes you’re in big trouble. Game over. That’s why they call it the widow maker.”
Cardiovascular experts have suggested that 90 minutes is an appropriate window to get blockages removed. But, Dr. Isaac and his team had a stint inserted and Dr. Khan feeling better in exactly seven minutes. That’s how long it took them to get him from the emergency room, to the operating room, to almost instant relief.
“Maybe two seconds, three seconds,” recalls Dr. Khan, “I felt better.”
Experts say the faster blood flow can be resumed, the less damage to the heart muscle, and the faster a patient recovers. Dr. Khan was out of the hospital and back to work within a week.
Dr. Isaac explained, “He did exactly right. Symptoms… call 911… get here.”
Too often, doctors say patients attempt to self-diagnose, or dismiss symptoms with often deadly consequences. “Patients die in the car on the way to the hospital,” says Dr. Isaac. “Just listen to your body. If you have risk factors and you have symptoms, think heart until proven otherwise. Indigestion won’t kill you—but, a heart attack will.”
Some risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, smoking and family history. Dr. Khan didn’t have those—but, he still had a massive heart attack. He blames stress.
“I’m going to be extremely careful for the rest of my life,” says Dr. Khan as he thanked God for putting life-saving care within reach. Now, he says he will slow down a little. And then he reconsidered and added with a laugh, “probably slow down a lot.”
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