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Oklahoma Heart Heroes saluted Cardiac-event survivors

Oklahoma Heart Heroes saluted Cardiac-event survivors, rescuers praised in conjunction with Go Red for Women initiative

Published: February 6, 2010

When Albino Garza’s wife, Amy, went into cardiac arrest last year, his emergency response training kicked in. He called 911, began CPR on her limp body and instructed their 8-year-old daughter, Jolie, to wait at the door for the ambulance.

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U.S., state health facts
→Oklahoma ranks first in heart disease.
→One in four Oklahomans smokes.
→More than half of Oklahomans are overweight.
→Most Oklahomans eat fewer fruits and vegetables than recommended.
→Oklahoma ranks third-worst in the nation in people reporting no leisure time physical activity.
→One in five Oklahomans has high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
→Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in America.
→Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from heart disease.
→Every 29 seconds, an American suffers a coronary event.
→About every 60 seconds, someone dies from heart disease.
Source: American Heart Association

Garza’s quick thinking and swift medical care saved his wife’s life.

Albino and Jolie Garza were honored Friday as Oklahoma Heart Heroes during a ceremony that took place at Oklahoma Heart Hospital South.

The event was to mark Go Red for Women, an initiative of the American Heart Association to raise awareness of women’s heart health. Two other women and their rescuers also were honored.

Amy Garza was in a coma for 14 days after her heart attack. She was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called long QT syndrome. Doctors also learned Jolie had the same defect. Mother and daughter had surgeries to implant defibrillating pacemakers to stabilize their heart rhythms.

"I thank God every day for my wife and my daughter,” said Garza, who learned to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation while he trained as a reserve police officer.

"I have both of my angels with me right now.”

The family lives in Hobart in western Oklahoma.

CPR also was credited with saving the lives of Julie Avants, of Edmond, and Loyce Newton Edwards, of Oklahoma City.

Avants’ daughter, Kathryn, 15, called for help when her mother collapsed at home. Edwards suffered a cardiac event while walking at a mall. Her friend called 911, and a stranger administered life-saving CPR.

Edwards calls her rescuers "angels in my life that brought me back from death.” She encouraged everyone to learn CPR.

Others at the rally reminded women to maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking and exercise regularly, along with keeping track of their blood pressure and cholesterol.

"Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women,” said Brenda Head, a nurse at the heart hospital. "We are fighting heart disease with the weapon of knowledge.”

Oklahoma Heart Heroes saluted Cardiac-event survivors

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