Local man survives massive heart attack and climbs Mt. Washington
"Here I am now 73. I died six times. I died four times in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and twice in the hospital," Peter McFarlane, who survived a massive heart attack said.
And he lived to tell about it.
Peter McFarlane had a massive heart attack back in January of 2017.
"At the end of the hour, we were stretching, and I began to feel dizzy went down on one knee and that's the last I remember," McFarlane said.
Six days later McFarlane woke up in the hospital. Doctors told him he had suffered what's called a widowmaker heart attack.
This is caused by a complete blockage of the left anterior descending artery which will cause a massive heart attack that will likely lead to sudden death. Peter had quadruple bypass surgery. He is one of the incredible stories of survival.
McFarlane started working out through Erlanger's Cardiac Rehab program. This was a big step. He could barely walk a few feet without getting out of breath.
Then less than a year later, he climbed Mt. Washington.
"We spent seven minutes on the summit and turned around and started down again," McFarlane said.
A grueling climb with wind speeds of up to 85 mph that day.
Dr. Alison Bailey is Peter's cardiologist.
"Anytime you feel something that is not right you should not minimize it. The key takeaway, when you look at most people, they probably did have some warning signs," Dr. Bailey, of Erlanger, said.
McFarlane said he doesn't have a family history and didn't notice any symptoms.
Dr. Bailey said it is important to remember these tips from the American Heart Association called "Life's Simple 7"
- Manage Your Blood Pressure
- Control Your Cholesterol
- Reduce Your Blood Sugar
- Get Active
- Eat a Healthy Diet
- Watch Your Weight
- Stop Smoking
"If you take care of your heart, it takes care of everything else," Dr. Bailey added.
McFarlane, who says he tries to stay active and eat a healthy diet, says he definitely won't take this second chance for granted.
"So every day is different for now because when I talk to people I never take it for granted that I am going to see them again," McFarlane explained.
Dr. Bailey told us that if McFarlane hadn't received CPR that day before he got to the hospital, he most likely would not have survived.
She also said having AED's available in businesses and schools is important.