Patient Stories

Mark Warner is a Man Who Defies the Odds

Oct 25, 2016, 14:18 PM
Mark Warner defies the odds after suffering a "widow maker" heart attack and being found unconscious on a bike trail. Mark rides his bike 18 miles a day to and from work and thanks to a great team of EMTs who arrived on the scene and his team of physicians including Dr. Dhaval Patel at Virginia Heart, he has a great prognosis. Read his story.
Author Name : Dr. Dhaval Patel

After all, the odds of someone who rides his bike 18 miles a day to and from work having a “widow maker” heart attack are slim. The odds of surviving that heart attack after being unconscious for an unknown period of time are even slimmer.

Yet Mark Warner did survive—with help from his doctors at Virginia Heart. When EMTs responded after a stranger reported finding Warner alone and unconscious on a local bike trail, they did not know how long his heart had been stopped and therefore did not know how long his brain had been denied blood flow. They used a defibrillator to get his heart going again and within 90 minutes, Mark was in the catheterization lab at Reston Hospital Center. A stent was placed in his left anterior descending artery, which doctors determined was 95 percent blocked.

Mark was also placed in therapeutic hypothermia to bring his core body temperature down to about 32 degrees Celsius for about 24 hours to reduce neurologic injury. The treatment was a total success, since Mark regained all of his mental functioning immediately. The only thing he says he can’t remember is the actual heart attack. “I just remember waking up in the hospital,” he says.

Now fully recovered, he’s back to riding his bike, although he admits he does pay more attention to what he eats these days and faithfully keeps his appointments with Dr. Dhaval Patel at Virginia Heart. “Dr. Patel has been fantastic, right from the first time I saw him in the hospital,” he says.

“Mark’s prognosis is very good, especially since his heart suffered no residual damage and has recovered entirely,” Dr. Patel says. “He has done very well, likely in part due to his great health prior to the event and also because we were able to quickly insert a stent and open his blocked artery after he arrived at the hospital."

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