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Time Counts During Heart Attack



Like many people who experience heart attacks, Ed Johnson didn’t really know what was happening to him.

“I couldn’t walk but maybe 100 feet, and my chest would start hurting all the way up into my throat,” said Johnson, 62, of Wingo. “I didn’t know what a heart attack feels like; I knew I was in a lot of pain. But it was a warning sign I should have paid attention to.”

Fortunately, his wife took him straight to the Emergency department at Baptist Health Paducah.

“His family was smart enough to get him here in a rapid time,” said cardiothoracic surgeon Carl Johnson, M.D. “Time counts when your heart doesn’t have a blood supply and in order to save the muscle…we were called to do emergent bypass surgery.”

After triple bypass surgery, Ed Johnson was on his feet the very next day.

“I walked all the way down the hall and back, and, in fact, I was ahead of the nurses,” he said with a laugh. “I told them they needed to hurry up and catch up with me. I feel so much better. I haven’t felt this well in several years.”

Risk factors for heart disease

  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes

Heart attack symptoms

  • Some begin slowly with mild pain
  • Others are sudden or intense
  • Any chest pain (pressure or crushing) lasting 15 minutes or longer
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

If you experience these symptoms, call 911. If you need to discuss possible symptoms, speak to one of our nurses 24/7 free at 1.800.575.1911.

Baptist Health Paducah will host its annual Heart Health Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 22, in the atrium of Doctors Office Building 2. Free health screenings will be offered; no advance registration is necessary.