In the heart of Los Angeles, a tale of resilience and survival unfolds as Evan Wasserstrom, a 40-year-old Angeleno, shares his harrowing experience of facing a ‘widowmaker’ heart attack not once, but eight times. In an exclusive interview, Evan gives us a glimpse into the profound impact this near-death encounter has had on his life and how it continues to shape his outlook.
It all began on a fateful day, March 28th, 2023, when Evan was preparing to take his loyal companion, Atticus Finch, for a walk. Little did he know that this ordinary day would take a dramatic turn. As he stepped out the door, he was struck by a sensation he couldn’t ignore—a burning sun within the veins of his left arm, accompanied by profuse sweating. It was an unfamiliar, terrifying feeling that sent shivers down his spine.
“I felt like I had just gone for a swim with all my clothes on. It was like no feeling I had ever experienced before,” Evan recounts as he relives the moment. The gravity of the situation was clear to him, and he had to act swiftly. In a panic, he dialed 911, struggling to discern whether he was in the grip of an unprecedented panic attack or a heart attack.
The ambulance raced to his location, arriving just as Evan blacked out. What followed was a heart-pounding battle against death itself. Evan had to be resuscitated six times using defibrillators during the frantic race to Cedars-Sinai Hospital. “It was like a ping-pong match,” Evan vividly recalls. “Every time they shocked me back to life, I would flatline again for about 30 to 40 seconds.”
The term ‘widowmaker’ is synonymous with the highest risk level when it comes to heart attacks. Dr. Ajay J. Kirtane of New York-Presbyterian explains, “The term historically comes from the greater risk of a 100% blockage in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, which carries almost 50% of the blood to your heart muscle.” In Evan’s case, this threat became all too real, with a 100% blockage in his widow-maker artery and a second artery significantly obstructed at 70%.
The journey from there was nothing short of miraculous. After being rushed into surgery, Evan received two stents, and he was placed in a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit, attached to an ECMO machine that kept his heart beating. Doctors were not optimistic about his chances of survival, and they prepared his family for the worst, doubting that even if he did make it, he would ever walk or talk again.
However, against all odds, Evan defied expectations. Emerging from his coma, he embarked on a remarkable recovery journey that stunned not only the medical professionals but also his friends and family. “My friends and family think I’m invincible… I feel anything but,” Evan confesses.
For Evan, this extraordinary ordeal has left an indelible mark on his psyche. His fascination with mortality, which has been with him since a young age, has taken on a new dimension. “This is real life, and it will eventually end—that’s not a theoretical thought for me anymore. It’s actually part of my lived experience,” he reflects. “But dying eight times hasn’t cured me of fear or worry.”
Evan Wasserstrom’s story serves as a potent reminder of the fragility of life and the strength of the human spirit. His journey from the brink of death to a miraculous recovery is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It’s a testament to the resilience that resides within us all, waiting to be awakened in the face of adversity.
As Evan continues to embrace life with newfound gratitude and determination, his story stands as a beacon of hope and a reminder to cherish each precious moment. In a world often overshadowed by negativity, his remarkable tale shines brightly—a testament to the extraordinary power of the human will to survive against all odds.