New campaign launched to teach Manitobans about heart attacks

A local doctor has launched a new campaign to tell Manitobans what to do if they are having a heart attack and the symptoms to be aware of.

Dr. Shuangbo Liu, who is an interventional cardiologist, said half of Manitobans having a cardiac episode call 911, while the other half drive themselves to the emergency room.

Liu also noted half of heart attack patients also wait two hours before seeking medical attention.

“When the artery is 100 per cent blocked, blood is not getting through and the muscle, the cells are dying. So for every minute that artery remains blocked, the chance of having a larger heart attack, more damage and worse quality of life increases,” said Liu.

To help teach Manitobans, she has launched an educational campaign called Dial Don’t Drive.

The idea is to teach and empower Manitobans to recognize heart attack symptoms, introduce cardiac staff and tell stories of survival to as many people as possible.

“This is not what I imagined I would be doing with my research or my career – making Instagram reels and TikTok videos.”

Patti LeBlanc is one person who experienced a heart attack six years ago.

She said her first symptoms were shortness of breath and chin pain. It wasn’t until her left arm started to tingle that she recognized it might be her heart.

“I got in my car and phoned my husband, asked him to call 911 because something was wrong. I thought I was having a heart attack and proceeded to drive home,” said LeBlanc.

Since her recovery, LeBlanc said she has started to run again and she also tells everyone the importance of having paramedics come to you, instead of the other way around.

“Time is so important with healthcare, but so much with cardiac care time is important,” she said.

Liu said there are three symptoms to remember – sweating, chest pain and shortness of breath.

“I think there is a lot of fear, there is a lot of uncertainty and some people just don’t have that knowledge and we’re here to change that.”

More information about the Dial Don’t Drive campaign can be found online.

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