Change of Plans
Life-saving cardiac care at the Maz convinces patient to stay put and help others

Sylvia Peterson remembers taking her dog Indy to the dog wash before the dinner party she was hosting that evening. But not much else after that.

“When we were finished, I held the door open for the next customer, this gentleman with his dog. I said to him, ‘Good luck.’ Then I had a cardiac arrest. I dropped dead.”

Quick thinking saved Sylvia's life

Only the lightning-quick responses from the customer who ran to the vet clinic next door for help, and the veterinarian who administered vigorous Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) saved Sylvia’s life.

“The vet told me later that he looked into my eyes and knew I was gone,” said Sylvia. “He couldn’t find a pulse. Really, I don’t recall seeing a white light, but I was not alive.”

When the paramedics arrived, they had to shock Sylvia’s heart three times before it began beating on its own again.

Electrical issue, not blockage, caused cardiac arrest

Taken immediately to the University of Alberta Hospital, cardiologists determined that unlike most cardiac arrests, Sylvia’s was a result of an electrical issue; not an artery blockage.

“They told me my arteries were as clear as a baby’s heart. Not a single piece of plaque anywhere.”

As part of a clinical trial, Sylvia received a new pacemaker (equipped with a defibrillator) to help protect against future heart attacks.

The care she’s received in the hours and days following her cardiac arrest up to today at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute have left a lasting impact on Sylvia and her plans for the future.

Now Sylvia gives back

“At one time my husband and I were thinking about leaving Alberta after we retired. Not anymore. I am very lucky to be so close to world class cardiac care and the top-notch people they have working at the Maz. ”

In fact, Sylvia is so grateful that she volunteers at the Maz once a week to help new patients and their families find their way to appointments or particular units.

“I tell people when they come here, ‘Trust me, this is the best place you can possibly be for a heart problem.’ They like hearing that.”

Sylvia is also a supporter of the Maz through the University Hospital Foundation.
Please join her today by making a gift to help change and save lives.

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