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My Story: Erv Inniger

Meet Erv Inniger.  Erv is a survivor, an advocate, and a champion for the chain of survival.  He woke up that August day feeling his typical 100% A-OK.  The last thing he expected was to be having heart surgery an hour and a half later that day.  Erv shares his story of survival and why he believes in having a strong system of care in North Dakota - to save lives from heart attack.  

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I woke up that August day feeling 100 percent that morning.   The last thing I expected was to be having heart surgery an hour and a half later that day.

While headed to my office at NDSU, I suddenly felt like several people where standing on my chest.   Because of the chest pain and nausea, I walked into the athletic trainer’s office.   The staff called 9-1-1 and got the AED, as my symptoms got worse. 

Within minutes, the ambulance and fire department arrived, performed a 12-lead EKG and notified the hospital that I was having a major heart attack (STEMI).    

Thanks to American Heart Association’s Mission:  Lifeline protocol, the cardiac surgery team was prepared and waiting for my arrival.  I bypassed the emergency room and went directly into surgery. 

My right coronary artery was opened in 37 minutes from the time of the EKG performed by the ambulance crew.  Amazing.  They hadn’t even located my wife by the time the artery was opened. 

I’m forever grateful for the work of the American Heart Association.  Not only does the AHA fund education and medical advancements like those used in my procedure, but it also works to get us the fastest and best emergency care possible.   It saves lives.

I’m sharing my story because heart disease can affect anyone at any age. My dad died of a heart attack when he was only 57.  He collapsed while watching my brother’s high school tennis match.  That loss motivated me to make my heart health a priority – keeping physically active, having regular check-ups and eating well.

 I urge you to support the work of the American Heart Association and make your health a priority.  Don’t hesitate to seek medical assistance when you think something is wrong.  

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