British Columbia

Heart attack survivors want you to get CPR training

If you walked by the three healthy looking men standing in the hallway of Royal Columbian Hospital Thursday morning, you’d never know they’re all lucky to be alive.

3 hockey players who went into cardiac arrest while at arenas say CPR saved their lives

A representative from St. John Ambulance gives a CPR demonstration at Royal Columbian Hospital. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

If you walked by the three healthy looking men standing in the hallway of Royal Columbian Hospital Thursday morning, you'd never know they're all lucky to be alive.

Ken Carrusca, 50, Rob Macdonald, 49 and Jamie Maclaren, 43 are all recreational league hockey players who keep themselves in pretty good shape.

They're also heart attack survivors.

Carrusca collapsed on the ice Jan.14, while he was playing hockey at Burnaby 8-Rinks.

"They used the defibrillator, shocked me and restarted my heart," he said.

"As it turns out, I had four blockages and ended up having cardiac bypass surgery."

Three days later, Macdonald passed out in the dressing room at Pitt Meadows Arena after playing a game.

"The very fortunate thing is that somebody on the other team was a paramedic," MacDonald said.

"I received over 12 minutes of CPR and four shocks from a defibrillator."

Less than two weeks after Macdonald's heart attack, Maclaren wasn't feeling well after he finished a game at 8-Rinks.

When he went outside to get some air, he keeled over.

"I had no vitals for six or seven minutes as my teammates gave me CPR and administered the defibrillator," he said.

Jamie Maclaren, left, Rob Macdonald, middle, and Ken Carrusca, right, all suffered heart attacks earlier this year. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

Go get trained

Carrusca, Macdonald and Maclaren are three of six heart attack survivors who are sharing their stories this week to encourage people to get CPR training.

They believe that if there hadn't been someone around with medical training when they went into cardiac arrest, they wouldn't have survived.

Royal Columbian Hospital's interventional cardiologist, Dr. Gerald Simkus, says countless lives could be saved if more people knew how to use defibrillators.

"Most heart attacks [victims] actually die before they make it to hospital," he said.

"If you can get them to the hospital, we do a great job."

How to use an AED machine

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, this is how St. John Ambulance recommends to use a defibrillator. 0:59