Rosie O’Donnell Becomes the Face of Heart Attack Advocacy

On the Dr. Oz show October 25, Rosie O’Donnell gave her first interview since her recent heart attack. She talked about how she ignored all of the classic signs of a heart attack and that it’s a miracle she is still alive.

“I did not call 911, and I should have. And I’ve come to find out that 50% of women, while having heart attacks and suspecting they’re having heart attacks, do not call 911. And it was the stupidest decision I ever made in my life,” O’Donnell said in the interview.

One the day of her heart attack, she describes having pain in both of her arms and chest and feeling fatigued. However, O’Donnell went about her day with her family, chalking up the symptoms to other causes. Even when her son told her she “looked like a ghost,” she continued with her routine until the next day, when she visited a cardiologist. He told her that her left artery was 99 percent blocked and immediately booked her into the hospital for a procedure to insert a stent. 

The one thing O’Donnell did right, she said, was to chew an aspirin for her symptoms. Dr. Oz commented that he is amazed she is still alive because half of the people experiencing a heart attack die within 90 minutes.

Now that O’Donnell is in the clear she is dedicated to implementing healthier changes in her life and spreading awareness of how common heart attacks are. She especially highlights the fact that women do get heart attacks, although the symptoms are different than men’s and the classic stereotype of a crushing pain in the heart followed by dropping to the floor. She said on the show that she was surprised, as she started researching heart attacks, that no other celebrities are speaking out about this.

“Am I the only celebrity that ever had a heart attack? Well I don’t know if I am but I guess I’m the only who wants to talk about it,” O’Donnell told Dr. Oz.

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