Man's life saved after heart burn symptoms



Video reported by Steve Bodinet

Posted on December 27, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 27 at 10:00 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A Valley man's life was saved after he went to a hospital with what initially felt like heart burn from a big holiday meal.

Thom Miller realized his chest pains were more serious when his pacemaker began to go off.

"I didn't know what was going on," he said. "It shocked through my whole system down to my fingertips; down to my toes. It was unlike anything I'd ever felt before."

Miller was fitted with a pacemaker after he went into cardiac arrest in 2000. He also had a heart attack in 1995.

Miller and his wife of 25 years, Mary Ann Miller, rushed to the emergency department of Scottsdale Healthcare - Shea Medical Center.

Cardiologist Dr. Alan Tenaglia said Miller's heart was in bad shape when he arrived.

Miller's right coronary artery, which delivers oxygen-rich blood to the bottom portion of the heart, was blocked.

Tenaglia said when a coronary artery is blocked, the heart will gradually die until the artery is opened.

Miller received medical attention within the life-saving time period of 60 minutes.

Tenaglia said the holidays can be hard on peoples' hearts because heart problems are often related to diet, stress and lack of sleep.

"There's clearly an increase in heart attacks this time of year," he said.

Miller said his life-saving trip to the hospital has taught him to always seek medical attention if he has any questions or doubt about his health.

"I think it's so important that people watch their symptoms, go the emergency room, and have it checked out," Mary Ann Miller said. "It's worth your life."