Bismarck man talks about life after a heart attack

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BISMARCK, N.D. - February is National Heart month and about 2,300 Americans die from cardiovascular disease every day. Jeff Howell was almost one of the 2,300.

He woke up on October 14 with what he thought was a little heartburn. It turned out to be a massive heart attack. He credits paramedics with saving his life.

"I wanted to lay down and take a nap thinking that was going to eliminate that. Well, I later found out that that nap would have killed me,” said Jeff.

When his wife Stacy realized it was more serious, she called 911 and gave him an aspirin. Then she let the paramedics take over.

"So I ran and let them in and within minutes they had him hooked up to the EKG machine and they knew he was having a heart attack,” said Stacy.

Doctors put three stents into his chest. Tyler Kientopf says if Stacy had driven Jeff, it might have been a different ending.

"You don't have the lifesaving medications, you don't have the early defibrillation. What happens if the person goes unresponsive and need additional help? Now you're on the side of the road waiting for an ambulance,” said Kientopf, Sanford EMS educator.

The ambulance can share vitals with the hospital while they are on the way there.

"They can take an EKG at your house on scene and send it to the hospital. And then we can get the hospital activated and ready and get the cath lab ready. The cardiologist can read this and get everything started before you even get there,” said Sarah Miller, Sanford cardiac nurse.

"They were able to determine what was wrong, course of action, and they moved and luckily I'm here,” said Jeff.

Jeff is still recovering, but Stacy said he is doing well.