President of American Heart Association has heart attack at organization conference

The president of the American Heart Association had a heart attack during the organization's flagship scientific conference.

Blake Alsup, NY Daily News, Nov 16, 2017

John Warner, 52, had the "minor" episode Monday morning and was taken to a local hospital where doctors inserted a stent to open up a clogged artery, according to a press release from AHA.

Warner - a practicing cardiologist and CEO of UT Southwestern University Hospitals in Dallas - had delivered a Presidential Address at the conference the previous afternoon. He mentioned that both his father and grandfather had heart bypass surgeries in their 60s. He also lost his grandfather and great-grandfather on his mother's side to heart disease.

"After my son was born and we were introducing him to his extended family, I realized something very disturbing," Warner said. "There were no old men on either side of my family. None. All the branches of our family tree cut short by cardiovascular disease."

Warner began his one-year term as the American Heart Association's volunteer leader in July and has already represented the organization in places such as Washington, D.C., Panama and Beijing.

Most of Warner's career before becoming CEO of the health care system for UT Southwestern University Hospitals was spent working as an interventional cardiologist, often performing the exact procedure he underwent on Monday.

"John wanted to reinforce that this incident underscores the important message that he left us with in his presidential address yesterday - that much progress has been made, but much remains to be done," Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the AHA, said. "Cardiac events can still happen anytime and anywhere."

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