Firefighter Survives On-Duty ‘Widow Maker’ Heart Attack, Recovering

A Falmouth, Kentucky, firefighter is lucky to be alive after suffering what is known as a “widow maker” heart attack while on duty Saturday afternoon.

According to a report by WCPO News, firefighter David Klaber from Pendleton County responded to a report that 300 to 400 bales of hay were burning shortly after 12 p.m. on Saturday.

It was here that Klaber complained of chest pains and was immediately taken to the hospital.

According to the Greater Cincinnati Police and Fire Chaplain Services Facebook page, Klaber had suffered was in known as a “widow maker” heart attack.

The term “widow maker” refers to a specific type of heart attack that is known to have grave consequences. Most individuals who suffer this type of heart attack die, and the wives of the affected men therefore often become widows. The heart attack is caused by complete blockage of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery.

Klaber was found to have 100 percent blockage and was in critical condition. The firefighter was reported to have fluid in his lungs Saturday night by Cincinnati.com, but he improved by Sunday morning.

On Sunday, the Facebook page reported that the vent tube was out, and doctors reported no major damage to his heart.

“Please call out Firefighter David Klaber in all of your prayers! God has been watching over Dave, but he still needs your prayers & let’s please give thanks to God for the progress in Dave’s health.”

A “widow maker” heart attack mostly affect men but can affect women as well. In 2012, Rosie O’Donnell suffered the same type of heart attack.

The American Heart Association (AHA) warns that not all heart attacks are sudden and intense. Some heart attacks begin slowly, creating symptoms of mild pain or discomfort. The AHA says these symptoms could indicate you are having a heart attack.

  • Chest discomfort – Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest. It can feel like squeezing, fullness, pain, or an uncomfortable pressure.
  • Upper body pain – Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, between the shoulder blades, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach could be symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Shortness of breath with or without pain in the chest.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness

If you think you are having a heart attack or even if you are not sure it’s a heart attack, still call 911 or your emergency response number. According to the AHA, “minutes matter,” and fast action could save your life.

[Image via Scott Barbour / Getty Images]