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Published on February 17, 2020

“The Fact That I Lived Was Amazing” - Rapid Action Saves Heart Attack Survivor’s Life

When it comes to treating a heart attack, fast action is crucial. William Frisch can attest to that from his own experience – 2 years ago, he survived a massive heart attack. 

Everything seemed normal for Frisch that day. “[I was] moving a load of firewood,” he says. “All of the sudden, it sort of hit me inside. It was a strange experience, like a mini explosion.”

Frisch’s wife Jane called 911 immediately, and first responders rushed to the scene. On their way to Moses Cone Hospital, the first responders gave Frisch an EKG as they communicated with the on-call cardiologist, saving precious time. 

“We really have fine-tuned the system to expedite what we call ‘door-to-balloon time,’” says Thomas Kelly, MD, a cardiologist with Cone Health Medical Group Heart Care. “Time is muscle. The longer that muscle doesn’t get blood, the greater the likelihood there is for irreversible damage.” 

Only 19 minutes passed between the time Frisch arrived at Moses Cone Hospital to the time he was being treated with a wire down his blood vessel. This quick intervention saved his life within a matter of minutes. 2 days later, Frisch was able to leave the hospital with a perfectly normal heart. 

Today, after 2 years have passed, Frisch lives his life without any sign of the heart attack that could have changed his life forever. Frisch is very active, engaging in any activity he wants – including singing in the orchestra with Jane. 

“The fact that I lived was amazing,” says Frisch. As a survivor, he has one piece of advice: “Don’t hesitate to go and get it checked out.”

How to Recognize and Respond to Heart Attack Symptoms

Bridgette Christopher, MD, PhD, continues the conversation on heart attacks with important information about prevention strategies, symptoms in men and women and steps to take if you think you're having a heart attack.

William Frisch

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