Knowing the Signs and Reducing the Risk

Knowing the Signs and Reducing the Risk

Steve Englert’s link to Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a bit different from others featured on this site. Steve is not a survivor. He has not suffered an SCA.  He has not had to be rescued by heroes with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or an automated external defibrillator (AED.) Steve got involved with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation because of his risk of SCA.

“My dad, grandfather and great-grandfather all died of heart (related problems) between the ages of 40 and 62,” Steve related at a recent interview. So when he started experiencing chest pain and fatigue, his wife, Charlotte, encouraged Steve to seek medical help before he made it four generations of Englert men who didn’t make it to retirement.

After examinations and a battery of tests, doctors discovered that Steve was suffering from atrial fibrillation caused by a left bundle branch blockage which resulted in the left side of his heart performing inefficiently. This, the doctor told him, put him at a high risk for SCA. He left the hospital with a ZOLL LifeVest, which included a defibrillator that would shock his heart back into rhythm in the event that SCA did occur. Since then, Steve says, “I’m just living on Coreg and Renexa,” referring to a beta blocker that slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure so that the organ operates at a lower stress level and a medication given to chronic angina sufferers to lessen the frequency of angina.

All of the information provided by Steve’s medical team is helpful in lowering his chances of SCA, but the prospect of an arrest or heart attack still preys on Charlotte’s mind.

“I live (the fear) with him every day,” she said recently. “It’s very frustrating not knowing what is going to happen or what the next (medical) step is.”

Charlotte and the couple’s son are also the catalysts that keep Steve on the straight and narrow when it comes to activity that may be too much of a strain. “Our son will say to him, “Dad, you’re not supposed to be doing that.”

Living with that cloud hanging over their heads have driven the Englerts, who have fundraising experience, to partner with the SCA Foundation for the Bubble Run Saturday August 27th starting at 8:00 a.m at Hartwood Acres in Allison Park.

To volunteer, click here.

By A.J. Caliendo

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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