(photo credit: Courtesy Kaplan Medical Center)
Happy excitement can sometimes be as dangerous as nervous excitement when it
comes to heart attacks. Gennady Farber learned this recently at his son’s
wedding, when after giving his speech the 55- year-old of Ashdod suffered a
heart attack and was rushed to Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center.
catheterization unit director Dr. Oded Eisenberg said Wednesday that positive
emotional experiences can cause heart problems in people at risk.
was attending the wedding of his 26-year-old son Alex – the first of his two
children to get married – to Vika, who is studying to be a radiology technician
The elder Farber was so overcome by excitement at the occasion
that he suffered severe chest pain and was taken by ambulance from the wedding
hall to the hospital. There, interventional cardiologists opened up a severely
clogged coronary artery and introduced a stent to keep it open so oxygen-rich
blood could reach the heart muscle.
The pain set in while he was dancing
and began to sweat, said Gennady. “I tried not to let on that something was the
matter so as not to ruin the wedding.” Then he started to give his
speech, but says he could not continue. At the hospital, Farber was found to
have a 99 percent blockage and that he had underdone a coronary
Farber’s wife, Yelena, who works as a nurse in Kaplan’s
maternity ward, was by her husband’s side constantly. The married couple
postponed their honeymoon to be with Farber during his recovery. About two weeks
later, he was discharged to go home.
According to Eisenberg, research
shows that emotional stress is similar to physical stress in causing fatty
plaque inside coronary arteries to break off and clog the vessels completely or
partially. “It doesn’t matter if the stress is positive or negative,” he
explained. “It releases factors that can cause the blood vessels to contract,
especially if the person has cardiac risk factors or known or hidden heart
The Kaplan cardiologist urged people with symptoms such as
chest pains, sweating, difficulty breathing and/or nausea to call for help
Eisenberg’s unit performs 2,000 catheterizations, a
procedure used to diagnose and treat some heart conditions, a year. Some 60% of
patients undergo angioplasty (balloon therapy) immediately after being brought
to the hospital, as in Farber’s case.
He advised all people over 40, or
those over 35 with risk factors, to undergo scanning to see if their heart is in
danger of suffering from clogs.
“There is no doubt that it was an
unconventional wedding,” said Alex, an electrical engineer. He thanked the
Kaplan staff for saving his father’s life. “The important thing is that Dad gets
stronger and lives to see many grandchildren.”