Man survives ‘widowmaker’ heart attack hours after daughter’s birth in Glendale

May 10, 2023, 4:25 AM

(Abrazo Health Photo)...

(Abrazo Health Photo)

(Abrazo Health Photo)

PHOENIX — Justin Elms of Peoria survived a near total blockage in his heart hours after his daughter, June, was born at a Glendale hospital in March.

Elms felt light headed while visiting with his daughter and her mother, Emily Christison, and he walked over the cardiac catheterization lab at the Abrazo Arrowhead Campus.

Within 25 minutes of Elms walking out of the room, a nurse instructed Christison that Elms suffered a heart attack and was getting stents put in.

“It was a whirlwind couple of days,” Christison said in a press release. “I had a baby on Wednesday morning and by Thursday afternoon, Justin had a heart attack. He spent a day in the ICU but we were all able to go home by early Friday evening.”

“Most new dads are usually so exhausted by the events surrounding a birth, but he seemed like he really wasn’t feeling well and decided to go the Emergency Department to get checked out,” nurse Mary Krupa added.

What Elms dealt with was what is known as a “widowmaker,” a type of heart attack that involves full blockage of the heart’s biggest artery, the left anterior descending artery. The LAD provides approximately half of the heart’s blood supply, making such a blockage immediately life threatening, according to Cleveland Clinic.

“If we hadn’t already been in the hospital, Justin wouldn’t be here today,” Christison said.

After treatment, Elms returned from the ICU to check on Christison and June.

Since he was in, as Krupa put it, the right place at the right time, the family of four will get to spend Mother’s Day together Sunday for the first time.

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Man survives ‘widowmaker’ heart attack hours after daughter’s birth in Glendale