One would think that the leader of the American Heart Association would have the most cardiovascular fortitude of any of us, but the organization’s president proved otherwise during a scientific conference that saw him suffer a small heart attack that required surgery to treat.
52-year-old John Warner, who is a practicing cardiologist and the CEO of UT Southwestern University Hospitals in Dallas, was fresh off delivering the presidential address at the AHA’s flagship conference when the scary incident occurred, New York Daily News reported.
In a press release, the AHA described the heart attack as a “minor” episode that happened on Monday morning and saw Warner get transported to the hospital so that surgeons could use a stent to open a clogged artery.
During his address, Warner revealed that his family has a strong predilection for cardiovascular disease. Both his father and paternal grandfather underwent bypass surgeries in their 60s, while his maternal grandfather and great-grandfather succumbed to heart disease.
“After my son was born and we were introducing him to his extended family, I realized something disturbing,” he said. “There were no old men on either side of my family. None. All the branches of our family tree cut short by cardiovascular disease.”
AHA chief executive Nancy Brown said that Warner’s health scare underlines the message from his address that “cardiac events can still happen anytime and anywhere.”
“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,” she said.