Kevin Smith heart attack helping raise awareness of heart disease symptoms and prevention


SARASOTA- It’s known as a widow maker, Comedian and Filmmaker Kevin Smith suffered such a massive heart attack.

Any heart attack can be deadly if it’s not treated quickly. But the “widow maker” heart attack refers to a total blockage in a critical blood vessel.

“The widow maker is in reference to a blood-vessel that travels along the front part of the heart called the left anterior descending artery,” Dr. Chippy Nalluri said. “And it actually supplies a good chunk of the heart muscle, so when that artery has a blockage it can lead to sudden cardiac death.”

Many associate chest and arm pain with heart attacks, but in a facebook live video Kevin Smith said he had very little pain, but was experiencing shortness of breath. Cardiologist Dr. Chippy

Nalluri says heart attack symptoms are wide-ranging.

“Tightness,” Dr. Nalluri said. “A discomfort, they start to sweat, and you have these unusual set of symptoms all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you have to pay attention.”

Symptoms for women can be even harder to spot.

“They can have days of fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, back pain,” Dr. Nalluri said. “Breathlessness, and we don’t think of these being classic symptoms of heart disease and we tend to ignore it.”

Dr. Nalluri says any sudden onset of symptoms shouldn’t be ignored.

“Time is muscle as we say,” Dr. Nalluri said. “And I would say don’t stop to think about it, and in fact when you’re having severe symptoms just call 911 instead of driving yourself to the emergency room.”

Dr. Nalluri says if your experiencing symptoms, chew an asprin while waiting for EMT’s.

“It actually starts to work right away to help fight the clotting that’s happening,” Dr. Nalluri said.

Heart Disease is America’s number one killer, and Dr. Nalluri says everyone should focus on prevention. Make simple diet changes.

“I am a big proponent of whole food plant based diet,” Dr. Nalluri said. “And now we have uniequivocal, pure scientific data to support this stand.”

Exercise also helps with prevention.

“Move,” Dr. Nalluri said. “However you want to move, if you want to dance or if you want to run it doesn’t matter, be in motion.”

You can also practice stress-management techniques.

Dr. Nalluri says by being open with his experience, Kevin Smith can help save lives by raising awareness of heart disease.

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Samantha Sonner
Multimedia Journalist Samantha Sonner comes to the Suncoast from Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she worked as a reporter and host for KRWG TV/FM reporting on local politics, immigration, and border issues. Samantha grew up on Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor of Science in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she worked at WAER, the campus NPR station and interned at television stations in Central New York. Samantha is excited for the Florida Sunshine, and to be living so close to fantastic beaches. Feel free to follow her on Facebook and Twitter for story updates and news, or to send her story tips and ideas. You can also email her at


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