MOUNTAIN TOP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Any heart attack can be deadly, but there is one considered especially dangerous. It is often referred to by its scary-sounding nickname the “widow maker.”
It’s called the “widow maker” because it’s the result of a blocked major artery that allows blood flow to the heart.
An 89-year-old Mountain Top man suffered one just a day before he was to receive a big honor. Now, he’s sharing his story about the importance of acknowledging your symptoms. One look inside John Magagna’s home and you can tell he loves outdoor sports.
“This is the first year in 50 years I haven’t got a deer,” said Heart Attack Survivor John Magagna.
Hunting is not the only thing he puts his heart into.
He loves the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. He’s been its benefactor, a board member, and even a conductor at a rehearsal. Magagna was all set to be publicly acknowledged by the Philharmonic at its gala last June.
“It was an honor that I felt very privileged to have,” said Magagna.
But about a week before that, he noticed something in his chest.
“I started to feel a sensation. It wasn’t pain. It was so subtle,” said Magagna.
After several days, he saw his doctor. His symptoms worsened on the day of his appointment.
“So when I got in there I said to the receptionist ‘I’m having chest pain’. Well, that put everybody on high alert,” explained Magagna.
He was told he had to go to a hospital immediately.
“I said ‘I don’t want to go. It’s not on my agenda’. She said, ‘Is dying on your agenda?’ I said ‘no,'” stated Magagna.
“He developed a chronic blockage in his coronary artery and over time that caused symptoms,” said Geisinger Cardiologist Doctor Charles Peters.
Dr. Peters says the artery was 95% blocked.
“I think if John didn’t seek care when he sought care, I think the outcome could have been not very good. John may not have been here with us at this point in time to discuss this with you,” stated Dr. Peters.
“You would think at my age I’d know enough not to ignore symptoms. And I’m telling you from now on if my little toe hurts I’m going to go to the doctor. End of story,” expressed Magagna.
Doctors inserted a stent into the artery to restore proper blood flow. Magagna was well enough to attend the gala. His experience is a cautionary tale. Magagna is on some medications.
Magagna’s doctors also put him on a modified diet and encouraged him to stay active and they say his outlook is good.