“Fit and Female: Heart Attack Strikes an Unlikely Target” – Kristi’s Story

“Fit and Female: Heart Attack Strikes an Unlikely Target” – Kristi’s Story


♪ (calming music) ♪ Our neighbor, who is a policeman,
pulled my husband aside and said, ‘Take her in the ambulance,
don’t drive her there.’ That saved my life. My name is Kristi Cervantez
and I live in Solon. And in April 8 of 2012,
I suffered a heart attack. I had no symptoms previously,
I felt great, I was training for a half marathon — running
30, 40 miles a week, I’d lost 20 pounds. I was sitting down to do, actually,
my taxes and I had searing pain in my chest, down my left arm,
up my jaw, um, numbness. I felt nauseous and then I began
to sweat profusely. So it was really the typical
heart attack symptoms. At 5:00, I had symptoms and by
7:30 I had 2 stints in my heart. And that was when I knew for sure
that I’d had a heart attack. They think I had — what’s called?
— a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, so I had no
cholesterol build-up, no blockage, other than the
artery itself had sheared off on the inside
and formed a flap and that’s pretty rare, they think
it happens in younger women who are athletic. Looking at me,
I don’t look like a typical heart attack survivor. So I
think, just — It doesn’t always happen just to
the older person who doesn’t exercise or eat right,
it can happen to anyone. Don’t ever take symptoms for granted,
Don’t brush them aside or ignore them. And if you feel
those symptoms, go in the ambulance.
Don’t drive yourself, don’t have someone drive you,
take an ambulance. The best thing about having
my treatment at U of I Heart and Vascular Center
was that they jumped into action immediately, didn’t hesitate,
did what they needed to do right away, to keep me alive
and I’m here because of them. And I’m so thankful for
what they’ve done for me. ♪ (calming music) ♪