Lifelong Georgia runner is now cardiac arrest survivor

- Kevin DeLine doesn't remember much about the morning his heart stopped, but his wife Laura sure does. It was August 24, 2017, and the Marietta father of 2 was just wrapping up a 6-mile run when he collapsed in a neighbor's front yard.His heart had faltered and then stopped.

"He was laid right there," Laura DeLine remembers.  "It was chaotic.  The whole neighborhood was here.  I just kept looking up and more and more people were here."
Nearly 5 months later, Kevin DeLine feels grateful he lived to tell his story.

"I have no words for how lucky I feel," he says.
DeLine had no heartbeat, and wasn't breathing, when he was brought back back to life by an EMS crew with an AED, and rushed to WellStar Kennestone Hospital's emergency room.

"I remember a lot of chaos, and a lot of things happening around me," DeLine says of his ambulance ride.  "A voice says, 'Kevin, are you with me?  You've had a heart attack.' And I just said, 'Oh, God.''
 

WellStar interventional cardiologist Dr. Scott McKee and his team rushed DeLine into a cath lab.

"He had a very high-grade blockage in the main artery of his heart called the left anterior descending, just where it started."

They call this blockage "the Widowmaker," because so few survive it.


"The first step was relieving that immediate blockage, so we did put in a stent that day, and opened the artery back up," Dr. McKee says.But, Kevin DeLine was just 44, running about 1,000 miles a year, coaching his sons' Hudson's and Grant's youth teams.

So, why him?

"It's something that can kind of really can catch some folks off guard," Dr. McKee says.  "Because it's your prime of life, and you really don't expect to have these issues until maybe you're 60 or you're 70."

Turns out, DeLine had passed out before, on a run a few months before his heare attack.
And, he says, he'd been experiencing non-descript chest pain, he now knows was angina, a warning sign for a heart attack. He'd even gone in for a treadmill heart stress test.

"The original doctor said everything looked good," DeLine says.  "I probably should have listened to my body a little bit more, and been more direct and forceful with the doctor, saying something isn't right."

Kevin DeLine had a plaque buildup caused by coronary artery disease, and he also has a common genetic disorder known as Factor V Leiden, which raises his of developing blood clots.
But with the help of cardiac rehab, and the right medications, he's healthy again, a grateful for his second chance. He says he sweats the small stuff a lot less these days.

"Definitely trying to cherish every day a little bit more, and the things I want to do, like hanging out with the boys," DeLine says.

He's now back to running again, only this time with a group.
And DeLine says he's on a crusade to encourage people to get trained in CPR.
One of the neighbors who helped perform CPR on him had just learned how to do it a week earlier.

 

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