Cardiologist on how singer KK’s heart attack should have been handled better

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Singer KK’s untimely death from cardiac arrest at 53 on May 31 has sent shockwaves across the country. Heart attacks and cardiac deaths are increasingly on rise in young in the age group of 40-50. Stress, sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary choices are affecting cardiac health of people in general and experts advise screening after the age of 40 to reduce risk of heart ailments and sudden deaths. Dr. Rajneesh Kapoor, Vice Chairman, Interventional Cardiology, Heart Institute, Medanta Hospital Gurugram in an interview with HT Digital talked about the possible underlying reasons behind KK’s death, the cause of cardiac deaths in young and tips to prevent heart trouble.  (Also read: Singer KK dies of suspected heart attack; warning signs and symptoms of cardiac trouble)

Dr Kapoor also said that the popular vocalist should have been taken to the hospital in a comfortable manner and not in a rushed way as apparent from the video clip that has been doing the rounds on internet. The singer before breathing his last performed at Nazrul Mancha in Kolkata on Tuesday and started feeling unwell after his return to his hotel. The singer died of cardiac arrest and was feeling uneasy even during the concert.

‘Singer KK shouldn’t have been rushed’

“It seems KK was having some chest discomfort and he was rushed to the hotel. Now simply if somebody starts having chest discomfort which is a suspicion for heart attack, then the patient should not be running. Patient should be taken to a place where he is lying down. So that heartbeat comes down rather than creating lot of anxiety around the situation. When people start running, it will make situation worse. If emergency situation like this is suspected, make the patient comfortable, then if there is availability of simple aspirin or sorbitrate, then try that. Potentially one should know BP of the person who is at risk, saturation if one can know. Patient should be taken to a hospital in comfortable manner and not in a rushed manner like it was shown in the video how KK was rushed back to hotel and then to hospital and in that duration all these things happened,” says Dr Kapoor.

Why fit and healthy people have heart attacks

Singer KK looked at his fittest best and his cardiac issues came as a surprise to everyone and his friend musician Ehsaan Noorani even went on record saying he never smoked or had alcohol. It was found in his post mortem examination that he had a major blockage in the left main coronary artery and small blockages in various other arteries and sub-arteries. Dr Kapoor says even people who look fit externally may not have a healthy heart as they may be focussing on fitness and doing a lot of exercises but its impact may be nullified by a bad habit or stress.

“When somebody says a person has a healthy lifestyle, so that healthy lifestyle could be looking from outside. But what actually is inside is a vascular lifestyle. Blood vessels may not be behaving in a good manner even if the person is leading a healthy lifestyle from outside. The person might be gymming, maybe going for walks maybe jogging, but if the person is smoking in addition to this, then a person cannot have a healthy lifestyle. Or if a person is stressed in addition to this then we can’t say the person has a healthy lifestyle. All the good things that the person is doing is nullified by the bad things and these bad things are leading to a lot of stress from the heart point of view which can be life threatening,” he says.

How stress can cause heart attack in young

Celebrities have a hectic lifestyle and the stress of their profession can also affect their heart, says expert.

“So we all know that singer KK died after a concert. He was singing at a concert putting in a lot of effort. He was looking stressed. I think all the artists are going through a lot of stress. Although outside image is that of glamour that we are watching but they might be undergoing a lot of stress. For KK also in that concert, he was visibly looking stressed. I don’t know the actual sequence but maybe he had chest discomfort at some point of time. I believe if that chest discomfort was addressed at the right time and in a proper manner, may be things would have been different,” says Dr Kapoor.

“In the present time, stress is contributing to a lot of health hazards and it has escalated multifold in the present era. Youngsters are in realm of stress more. Stress leads to high pulse rate, fast heartbeat and lot of hormonal changes in the body which are detrimental for heart health. If somebody is having blockages in the heart which are lying benign so far, what stress can do is erupt those blockages and cause heart attack. Stress is a very strong potential trigger in present times to produce heart attacks and one should know how to manage stress that will go a long way in having a healthy heart and life,” says the cardiologist.

How can heart attacks be prevented

Dr Kapoor says prevention is the best thing we can do. “One should screen themselves beyond the age of 40. They should have cardiac annual check-ups, fasting blood sugar, fasting cholesterol, fasting lipid profiles and other blood tests and a good stress test. This creates a comprehensive screening test and if there is some clue, some pointer that comes out of this screening test that is not normal then people can have advanced testing in the form of CT corner scans, conventional angiography. We should exactly know what’s happening with arteries of our heart. BP and cholesterol issues should be addressed too because they also cause heart problems,” concludes the expert.

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