Dr. Oz's heart-to-heart about the heart attack Rosie O'Donnell never saw coming
We all know the typical symptoms of a heart attack – shortness of breath, arm pain, the sensation of a dump truck sitting on your chest. But for women, the symptoms can be entirely different, warns Emmy Award winning host, Dr. Mehmet Oz and no one knows this better than heart attack survivor and TV personality, Rosie O’Donnell.
On Thursday, October 25, Dr. Oz airs an exclusive interview with O’Donnell in her first interview since the heart attack she didn’t even know she was having.
“I was stunned by how she went through the symptoms that she had, which in retrospect, are pretty typical for a woman having a heart attack,” says Oz in a recent conference call. “She ignored them the way any other woman would. She ignored them because she didn’t want to bother the family with having to deal with her issues.”
Oz promises a “soulful” and “emotional” conversation with O’Donnell. “She talks about how she almost died because she ignored these weird pains, the shortness of breath, the dizziness, the nausea, all this stuff,” he says.
“And in the course of her interview, it became very emotional when she began to talk about how she ignored these (symptoms), and what that meant about how she viewed her life.
“The reason she decided to come out and talk about it . . . was the earnest desire to help people not die,” says Oz. “Rosie’s a very insightful person.”
Oz reveals that the first thing doctors do when performing an autopsy on a woman who has died suddenly is check the stomach for Pepto-Bismol or antacids. “We do that because we know that women often will have indigestion as their first sign of a heart attack and if they have Pepto-Bismol in their belly, it means they were ignoring the symptoms that were warning them they were about to die, so they died,” he says.
O’Donnell’s surprise heart attack provided Oz with what he calls “an obvious teachable moment.”
“And every woman from now on when they’re having these weird symptom that they hear about on Thursday . . . fatigue and dizziness as opposed to classic male symptoms . . . are not going to downplay their symptoms,” says Oz.
“They’re going to go in (to the hospital) and say Rosie had a heart attack with symptoms like mine, and could I (be having) a heart attack?”
“And when a doctor hears that word, heart attack, we think sudden death, so we can’t put you on the back burner and get back to you in a couple hours.”
And that’s the very urgency Oz and O’Donnell are hoping to share with their viewers.
“The Dr. Oz Show” airs weekdays at 2 p.m. ET on CTV.
About Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been working for CTV.ca since 2008. Lindsay’s highlights include interviewing the famed American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain, as well as covering the Juno Awards. Follow her on Twitter!