Each year, about 700,000 Americans die from heart attacks. Men and women are at risk. February is Heart Month.
One Georgetown resident says being aware of the possible symptoms of heart attack is what led him directly to the St. David's Emergency room -- a move that saved his life.
Roger Sathianathan, 50, and Jay Conner, the Chief of St. David's Georgetown Hospital Emergency Room, first met in the ER back in October.
"Within 10 minutes of getting here, I was clinically dead," said Sathianathan. "I had stopped breathing. My heart had stopped pumping, and I was four to five minutes away from being brain dead."
Sathianathan had not been experiencing any heart attack symptoms such as chest pain, sweats, faintness or shortness of breath. Still, he knew something wasn't right, so he insisted on being driven to the ER. Even there doctors say his first EKG didn't show any evidence of a heart attack.
But then, "He went into ventricular fibrillation where the heart is quivering," said Conner.
The St. David's staff got Sathianathan out of that irregular rhythm with the first shock.
"The problem was the heart was so irritable, it kept going back into that irregular rhythm," said Conner.
So many times, in fact, Sathianathan required a total of 20 shocks.
"There was a time when we thought, 'Gosh! This isn't going to go well,'" said Conner.
But things did turn out well. Roger is now active at St. David's Cardiac Rehab Center and equally active in promoting heart attack awareness. He encourages others to take part in St. David's Deputy Heart Attack course. He know he's here today because he had the foresight to get to the ER early where he could get the constant medical supervision needed to say alive.
"My mom gave me life," said Sathianathan. "Dr. Conner and his team gave me a second life."
That's something Sathianathan says he'll be eternally grateful for as long as he lives.
Here's the link with information on where you can mail your deputy heart attack certificates: