Donna Eastham of Benton had been dealing with a sinus infection in late 2022 and thought that the discomfort in her jaw was an extension of the infection. She wouldn’t know until later that jaw pain is a common sign of a heart attack in women.

 

She and her daughter had been texting from separate rooms at home when the daughter heard a gurgling sound coming from Donna’s bedroom. Her daughter found her in bed, unconscious and not breathing. Donna’s face and tongue were swollen. The daughter pressed her fingers into Donna’s mouth to clear her airway while Donna’s son called 911.

 

“The 911 operator instructed them to get me off the bed and start chest compressions,” recalls Donna. “After a hard landing on the floor from an overzealous, but effective tug, my son took over managing my airway while my daughter started chest compressions.”

 

EMTs arrived and shocked Donna’s heart twice to get her heart started; they would have to shock her nine more times before they could stabilize her enough to take her by ambulance to the hospital.

 

A thin catheter tube was inserted into Donna’s heart through an artery in her wrist, and the doctor found Donna’s circumflex artery was completely blocked.  Her left anterior descending (LAD) artery was about 60 percent blocked. She was given a stent to permanently open the circumflex artery, and she received a second stent to fix the LAD artery a few days later.

 

Doctors will continue to monitor Donna’s progress with regular checkups, but just four months later, she said she feels like she’s fully recovered.

 

“I’m back at work and planning my future,” she said.

 

The American Heart Association conducts educational campaigns to better inform the public about the differences in heart attack symptoms in men and women. As with men, womens’ most common heart attack symptom is chest pain (angina) or discomfort. But women may experience other symptoms that are typically less associated with heart attack, such as shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

 

The American Heart Association
The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, will conduct its 2023 Central Arkansas Go Red for Women Luncheon in May with the theme “Be the Beat.”

The signature luncheon – chaired by Dr. Anthony M. Fletcher, FAHA, an interventional cardiologist with CHI St. Vincent Cardiology and Medicine Clinic, and his wife, Dr. Paula Fletcher, a retired dentist who currently serves as health director at Shorter College – is scheduled for May 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Benton Event Center. Go Red for Women is designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women locally, nationally and globally.

Go Red for Women is nationally sponsored by CVS Health and is presented locally by platform sponsor Saline Health System. Media sponsors include B98.5 and AY About You Magazine/Arkansas Money & Politics.

Tickets for Go Red for Women are $250 and can be purchased at CentralArGoRed.heart.org or by emailing Carmen.Parks@heart.org.