Lancy Mulkey is lucky to be alive after surviving both a heart attack and cardiac arrest in the same day. It’s the type of one-two punch that physicians say has a high risk of death or neurologic damage, if survived.
Mulkey’s brush with death happened back in January; he admits he ignored the signs of the heart attack, experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. “My wife finally said if I didn’t get in the truck and go to the hospital, she was calling an ambulance,” says Mulkey.
When Mulkey arrived at the Emergency Center at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital, emergency physicians quickly recognized the signs of a heart attack and called in Imran Dar, M.D., an interventional cardiologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Katy and an assistant professor with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
“As we took Lance back to our cardiac catheterization lab to open the blockages causing the heart attack, he went into cardiac arrest. He experienced a heart rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation, which is a rhythm disturbance that if left untreated will lead to death. Fortunately Lance was already in the hospital, where I and several others in our team could immediately initiate CPR. After several minutes, we were able to get his heart back into a normal rhythm,” says Dr. Dar.
A Wakeup Call for a Healthier Lifestyle
Once the team at Memorial Hermann Katy got Mulkey’s heart stabilized, he had to have multiple stents implanted to treat the numerous blockages in his arteries. Both Mulkey and his wife, Kristy, say it was a wakeup call.
“We were sitting at home after getting out of the hospital and I looked at him and realized I could be watching TV alone right now. I went over and hugged him because I knew he could be gone,” says Kristy Mulkey.
Mulkey says since the incident, he quit smoking and is making healthier eating choices.
“I thought I was invincible and I’m not,” says Mulkey. “I’m telling all my coworkers about what happened, encouraging them to get their heart checked so they don’t experience what I did.”
Dr. Dar hopes others will learn from Mulkey’s story and get help the second they start experiencing signs of a heart attack.
“The fact that Lance has returned to a normal lifestyle without serious lasting deficiencies is a testament not only to the expertly trained team at Memorial Hermann Katy, but also to his fighting spirit,” comments Dr. Dar.
Recognizing Heart Attack Symptoms Early is the Key
Dr. Dar encourages everyone to talk to their doctors about their individual risk for a heart attack, because the key to successful treatment is recognizing heart attack symptoms early. “Also, make sure you and your family members know CPR and when to administer it,” adds Dr. Dar. “Every second counts, and you never know when you or someone you love will need it.”
Memorial Hermann Katy is equipped to handle a variety of heart and vascular conditions, including treating heart attacks at its accredited chest pain center. The recently renovated cardiac catheterization lab offers state-of-the-art equipment staffed by specially trained cardiologists, nurses and technicians.
Learn more about the heart and vascular services offered at Memorial Hermann Katy.