• Cardiovascular

    Helping Others Heal: Heart attack while water-skiing

heart attack patient Brian Kanable standing by a lake with his water skisAfter a heart attack while water-skiing, Brian Kanable needed four rounds of defibrillation before his heart stabilized. Brian says that in the process of recovery, Mayo Clinic care providers became like family.

There is no good time for a medical emergency to strike, but as Brian Kanable, of La Crosse, Wisconsin, found out, there are particularly bad times. It's at those times people rely on the care of their communities.

In August 2017, Brian was water-skiing on the Black River north of La Crosse. Water-skiing is a passion for Brian and a group of friends. They had been meeting two or three times a week to water-ski early in the mornings, before work.

This day was different. Brian was first up on the calm morning water while two friends were in the boat, one driving and one spotting the skier. Brian was just getting started, cutting wide turns across the wake on his slalom ski, when the expression on his face changed.

Without warning, Brian dropped the rope and plunged into the water. Thankfully, he was wearing a life vest. But, as the boat circled back, his friends watched as Brian pitched forward and his face went under the water. Quick thinking and quick action from his friends were the first steps to saving Brian's life.

The next was getting Brian medical help. The skiers were able to get Brian back into the boat and call for an ambulance. Fortunately for Brian, expert care was not far away. Read the rest of Brian's story.