Kootenai | Kootenai Health | Issue 4, 2023

6 By Shannon Carroll Widowmaker. Few words instill more fear in a person. A widowmaker heart attack happens when there is a full blockage in the heart’s biggest artery. Immediately life-threatening, the blockage makes it impossible for blood to move through the vessel that provides 50 percent of the heart’s blood supply. In October of last year, Brian Marlow knew the pressure in his chest was nothing he had experienced before, so he called 911. “I woke up two weeks later, after being put in a medically induced coma,” Brian shared. “I had suffered a widowmaker— my chance for survival was 50/50.” Cancer and kidney issues had plagued him over his 59 years, so fighting through serious health issues was nothing new to him. “I definitely knew I was in for a long fight, but I felt extremely well cared for by everybody at Kootenai,” he said. During Brian’s ordeal, Kootenai Health helps Brian Marlow survive a widowmaker his kidneys shut down and he required dialysis. “The machine was brought right to my room, so I could receive my treatment without a lot of movement or interruptions. I could just stay in my bed and remain comfortable,” he said. ‘I am so grateful’ But Brian’s body could only recover from so much, and one of his heart valves was leaking. Kootenai Heart Clinic cardiologist Eric Wallace, D.O., quickly determined that Brian’s best chance for survival was immediate repair. “Kootenai Health has long-standing partnerships across the region to connect patients with precise, specialized treatment necessary for some cases, like Brian’s,” said Dr. Wallace. Brian needed a mitral valve clip on his damaged valve and was immediately airlifted to the University of Washington. After a successful procedure, he was brought back to Kootenai Health, where he remained in the intensive care unit for two weeks and had a particularly profound experience there. Fighting Through Heart Failure