Research sponsored by the AHA has helped my family in many ways and I am the most recent recipient of this research. In July I flew cross country to attend a class in CA, and returned to NC four days later. On the return flight my left leg became very painful and I realized when I landed in Raleigh that it was also quite swollen. I'd read about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and putting the long flights together with the symptoms I thought that might be what was going on. I went straight to the Emergency Room and was diagnosed with a DVT. I spent the next 9 days in the hospital receiving thrombolytic therapy to dissolve the blood clot that went from my ankle into my abdomen! I also had 3 stents, similar to those used in heart patients, placed in my iliac vein. The thrombolytic agents are small doses of the ones used in stroke and heart attack patients. Many people who have DVT's continue to have problems that impact their mobility. Since I already have a disability in my right leg I really need my good leg to remain that way and thrombolytic therapy is the best way to prevent ongoing problems, Thanks AHA!
My father-in-law passed away in May from a heart attack. But he had two by-pass surgeries 12 years apart that gave him many years of high quality life and let him see his great-grandchildren. My Aunt Martha was the first patient to have open heart surgery at Aultman Hospital in Canton OH to repair a heart defect. Two years later, her daughter had the same surgery. I'm happy to say Aunt Martha, now in her 80's and my cousin Diane are both active and healthy! A generation after my cousin's surgery, my niece Cortney also had surgery to repair a heart defect. Today Cortney is Army Strong and serving our country! Research funded by the AHA helped develop and improve the surgeries that let them have active, healthy lives!
CPR training provided by the AHA also saves lives! I was attending a conference at a hotel when someone came running down the hall screaming "Does anyone know CPR?" I do and went running back up the hall with him. A young mother had collapsed, was not breathing and had no pulse. I told them to call 9-1-1, asked someone to get an AED (defibrillator) and commenced CPR. Shockingly, the hotel did not have a defibrillator but when EMS got there several minutes later they were able to use theirs to shock her back to life. Scarlet's doctors say it is a miracle that she survived and has no deficits! Her husband still has his sweetheart and her little girl is growing up with her mommy. What a wonderful feeling it is to know that God used me to save her life.
No one else in the conference room with Scarlet that day knew CPR. If you don't know CPR or it's been a few years since you've taken a class please sign up for one today! Even a 60 second delay in starting effective CPR reduces the patient's chance of survival. I saved a stranger's life but it's much more likely that you will save the life of someone you love.