What we can learn about heart risks after sudden death of Ron Savage

Image 1 of 3

A blockage of the left coronary artery led to FOX 2's Ron Savage dying suddenly of cardiac arrest. How did it happen and what can we learn about understanding of our heart?

He was seemingly so healthy, so full of life. But sometimes looks can be deceiving. We are trying to understand what happened to Ron. We do know he had a blockage in what is called the "widow maker" artery.

Beaumont cardiologist Dr. Kavith Chinnaiyan visited FOX 2 to talk about it.

FOX 2: "After learning about this blockage that probably gives us a bigger understanding (because) from the looks of it, Ron seemed quite healthy."

"Looks can be deceiving," Chinnaiyan said. "Coronary artery disease or this blockage issue can be a silent killer for a lot of people."

FOX 2: "How do you know? Not everybody can go out and get scans done of their heart."

"Number one, you have to know all your numbers and risk factors," she said. "Some people we can do additional testing to see if they have blockages to see if we could reduce the risk of having cardiac arrest."

FOX 2: "How important is family history? In other words, if you have a parent who was 80 and had a heart attack but was overweight and sedentary is that an indication?"

"No, we worry about family history only if it is first degree relatives who died or had heart problems around 55 or 60," Chinnaiyan said. "That is when we really worry about it."

You do need to know your family history and your numbers.

"What is your cholesterol level, what is your blood pressure, and are you a cigarette smoker," said Dr. Barry Franklin, Beaumont, director of cardiac rehabilitation. "For example, I tell of our patients remember the rule of 40. Whatever your cholesterol is if you lower it 40 points you cut the risk of a heart attack in half.

"If your cholesterol is 240 and takes it down to 200 or if you take it from 200 to 160, you've cut your risk again.

"Cigarette smoking, huge. On average people lose 10 to 12 years of their life span due to either cancer or heart disease prematurely.

"And finally high blood pressure. Typically we now say if pressure is 120 over 80 it is elevated and you've increased your chance for cardiovascular events."

For more information about Beaumont and its heart and vascular information and resources CLICK HERE.