BALTIMORE (WJZ) — By all accounts, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was a healthy person. But he may be one of those cases where the first sign of heart disease is death.
Kamenetz called 911 from outside Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Company and was transported to the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.
“He was in full cardiac arrest, receiving CPR and he had a heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, which is very difficult to treat,” said Dr. Gail Cunningham with the St. Joseph Medical Center. “Our team continued with the full, advanced cardiac life support, attempting to future defibrillate him and manage him medically, and very unfortunately we were unable to ever restore a heartbeat and pronounced him dead right around 3:20 this morning.”
Ventricular fibrillation is a sign of the heart not getting sufficient blood supply.
Dr. Ankit Shah, a Union Memorial cardiologist, told WJZ’s Pat Warren that time is of the essence in cardiac arrest.
“If you have a blockage at the end of one of the smaller arteries, it may not be as big a deal as if you have a blockage at the left anterior descending artery, which is called the widow maker. If you have a blockage at the beginning part of that vessel, which feeds a lot of the heart blood, then that can lead to a collapse or cardiac arrest a lot quicker than somewhere else,” Shah said.
Shah advises that even with no symptoms, people shouldn’t assume that feeling healthy means there’s nothing wrong.
“You could have undetected high-blood pressure for 10-20 years and not even know it,” Shah said. “So it’s definitely something that should alarm or alert people to see their providers.”
Health professionals also suggest getting regular checkups.