PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Director and actor Kevin Smith had a major health scare over the weekend.
In a Facebook post, the 47-year-old famed artist said he suffered a “massive heart attack” following a show on Sunday.
“I was trying to do a killer standup special this evening but I might’ve gone too far. After the first show, I felt kinda nauseous. I threw up a little but it didn’t seem to help. Then I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy. Turns out I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life at the #glendale hospital told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (also known as ‘the Widow-Maker’ because when it goes, you’re a goner). If I hadn’t canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would’ve died tonight. For now, I’m still above ground! But this is what I learned about myself during this crisis: death was always the thing I was most terrified of in life,” Smith wrote.
“It’s called a ‘widowmaker’ only because when that artery closes patients tend to die from the closure,” said Dr. Irving Herling with Main Line Health.
Herling says it’s more accurately called a “partner killer” because the blockage in the left anterior descending artery happens to both men and women.
“Unfortunately in the world we live in today it’s not unusual,” said Herling.
A blockage stops blood from circulating. It’s traditionally fixed with a stent which is what Smith had.
Smith, 47, revealed his father died of a massive heart attack.
Dr. Herling says while other things like smoking and being overweight can increase the risk for heart disease, family history is a primary indicator.
“I believe in people who have a family history of heart disease, as Kevin does, there are tests we can do to identify the presence of this early and prevent these heart attacks from happening,” said Herling.
That test is called “coronary calcium scoring.” Stress tests can also find heart disease.
Once diagnosed patients are often treated with statins and aspirin to prevent blood clots.
Dr. Herling says diet, exercise and medications could have also prevented the heart attack if he’d been diagnosed early.
The New Jersey native was in the process of filming a new standup special, “Kevin Smith Live!”
Smith did not say how long he would be hospitalized for.