CALIFORNIA: In an ironic turn of events, the president of the American Heart Association, Dr. John Warner, suffered a heart attack on a morning in mid-November during the AHA organization’s flagship scientific conference taking place in Anaheim, California a five-day conference on cardiovascular science. Dr. Warner is only 52 years old.
Even being at the handle of an Association connected to the world’s top cardiologists, surgeons, researchers and cardiology professionals, as well as being a globally renowned cardiologist himself, does not protect an individual from the perils of his own heart. His episode serves as a strong reminder that if your heart is susceptible to attacks due to genetic factors, you must always be aware of the possibility of your heart’s function being compromised.
Warner, a practicing cardiologist and the CEO of UT Southwestern University Hospitals in Dallas, promptly collapsed following the episode. He was taken to a local hospital, where doctors inserted a stent to open a clogged artery. The heart attack was termed minor by the operating surgeons, and Warner was soon on his way to recovery following the stent procedure.
Nancy Brown, the Heart Association’s CEO, said in a statement;
“John wanted to reinforce that this incident underscores the important message that he left us with in his presidential address yesterday – that much progress has been made, but much remains to be done,”
Warner’s family was on-hand to see him deliver his presidential address following his recovery, during which Warner, 52, talked about the toll heart disease has taken on his family. Both his father and paternal grandfather required bypass surgery in their 60s, and he lost a maternal grandfather and great-grandfather to heart disease.
He was 6 years old when his great-grandfather died suddenly, Warner said in his speech. It was the first time he was exposed to the term “heart attack,” he said.
“I know this is also true in far too many other families, not just in the U.S. but around the world,” Warner added. “Together we can make sure old men and old women are regulars at family reunions, that people live long enough and healthy enough to enjoy walks and fishing trips with their grandchildren and maybe even their great-grandchildren. In other words, I look forward to a future where people have the exact opposite experience of my family, that children grow up surrounded by so many healthy, beloved, elderly relatives that they couldn’t imagine life any other way.”