Carolyn McCool experienced her first heart attack

March 31, 2014
The day Carolyn McCool experienced her first heart attack began just like any other day. The 55-year-old Canyon Country resident traveled to Burbank for her job as a receptionist for a large accounting firm. She had been running errands and eating lunch just hours before learning that what she thought was heartburn was actually an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as a heart attack. “I had indigestion and then I started to feel sick to my stomach,” she recalls. “But I had no idea I was having a heart attack. My boss saved my life by calling 911.” McCool recalls very little of the ride to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, located less than three miles from her office. However, she remembers that everything happened quickly when she arrived at the emergency room. “She had the typical symptoms of chest pain, and the EKG clearly indicated she was having a heart attack. It's extremely important that she came in early,” says cardiologist Bharat Shah, MD, who determined that McCool needed to have her clogged artery opened with angioplasty. “With heart attack patients, time is muscle. Time is heart.” McCool's clogged artery was opened with angioplasty within 70 minutes from the time she arrived at the Providence Saint Joseph emergency department, something McCool is sure saved her life. “I could not have had better care.”