Woman survives 3 heart attacks, blocked artery

Doctor: You could have died

SAN ANTONIO – As a healthy 48-year-old woman, Donna Tuttle didn't seem like a candidate for a heart attack.

Tuttle said she exercised, watched her diet and didn't smoke, but she was hit suddenly with three heart attacks.

"I was coming from lunch with friends and I felt the left side of my chest started to really hurt," she said, "It felt like somebody punched me on the left hand side and my arm was tingling and I couldn't breathe."

At first, she didn't think it was heart attack because women's symptoms can include sudden fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, indigestion or discomfort in the back, chest, arm, neck or jaw.

Ny of these symptoms can be mistaken for other things.

After a second episode, Tuttle took said she baby aspirin then went to an emergency clinic the following day where doctors told her nothing was wrong.

Her blood pressure was fine because her EKG and chest X-ray showed no problems, so she went home.

The next day, she was walking her dog when she had a third attack and went to the hospital.

Again, she was told she was fine however, Tuttle wouldn't take that for an answer and demanded more tests. 

"You know yourself best, you just do. So if you feel really in an abnormal way, you should not ignore it," she said. 

This time a cardiac enzyme test and a CT scan showed she'd had three heart attacks and one artery was 99 percent blocked.

She said her doctor was stunned. 

"He said, 'You could've died of a massive heart attack or just been really debilitated so good thing you're here. And, oh, by the way, in the morning you're going to get a stent.'"

A week after surgery, Donna was back at work.

She shares her experience with others in hopes that they will stand up for themselves, if they believe doctors have made an incorrect diagnosis.

For more information on cardiovascular health click here.