Heart attack survivor says workout saved his life

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) In March 2018, Dane Hillyard suffered a heart attack, but he was completely unaware of it. He was working out at a local Orange Theory Fitness in Northwest Reno and noticed that whenever his heart rate would elevate he would feel like he had asthma and couldn’t breathe.

"I had no symptoms of any kind whatsoever unless I was working out at Orange Theory getting my heart rate really really high," Hillyard says.

After having problems breathing he knew he should get checked out. That was when his doctor informed him that he had suffered a heart attack.

"Yeah I go wait aren't you shouldn't you have pain in your shoulder, your chest or your jaw all this stuff you read? He goes no you may have had it in your sleep and you didn't even know," he says.

Hillyard says without the notifications from the equipment and heart monitoring at Orange Theory, he never would have known something was wrong.

"My heart rate monitor was kind of acting more and more erratic which they were trying to fi, but no it wasn't the equipment, my heart was messed up struggling to pump the blood so without the heart rate monitor and working out to this level I wouldn't have had these symptoms, I wouldn't be here talking to you I'd be dead," he says.

Orange Theory Fitness Coach, Nina Brunetti, says they monitor progress and heart rate but in this case it saved Hillyard's life.

"Had Dane not been in here and been able to see hey wait usually when I'm in orange zone I'm not this out of breath or out of control so something's not right and that alerted him to get checked and take immediate action," Brunetti says.

It turned out he had suffered a heart attack and hadn’t realized it. At the hospital, he learned that his main left anterior descending artery (the widow maker) was ninety-six percent clogged. He was lucky to be alive and received a stent to open the clogged artery and return the blood flow to his heart.

Dane’s heart attack changed his perspective on life. Dane is now involved with the American Heart Association Northern Nevada Division
because he wants to support the research and technology that saved his life. He is giving back by serving as the Chair of this year’s Heart and Stroke Walk/5K Run which will take place September 15th at Wingfield Park.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019