When Seepoleta Imo entered the 10K Mud Run in Castaic in April 2014, he expected a good workout. Suffering a heart attack at the age of 39, however, was something he did not expect. Thanks to the immediate treatment he received at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, he was able to return to his life.
Imo, the father of two girls, Alayna 10 and Kalista, 8, had just finished the Mud Run when he noticed that he could barely walk and was sweating profusely. He walked to the EMT tent to have himself checked out, and still did not feel right.
“I could not walk back up the hill,” Imo said. “It felt like I had sandbags on my feet and my heart was racing. My heart rate would not go down.
“Within a couple of seconds they looked at me and asked if I was ok. They told me I had signs of a heart attack and since I had never had one before, I didn’t know what that felt like.”
Imo was immediately transported to Henry Mayo’s Emergency Department (ED). Following a clinical evaluation, it was determined that he was suffering from a heart attack. He was quickly taken to the Cardiac Cath Lab where Dr. James Lee performed an angiogram and coronary intervention.
“They put in a stent to open my blocked artery and 45 minutes later I was in the ICU recovering,” Imo said.
As a former athlete, Imo had always maintained an active lifestyle. Originally from Samoa, he came to the United States on a football scholarship and played semi-pro football for several years.
“Nobody in my family has had a heart attack and I’ve always been very active so when this happened to me, it kind of crushed me, Imo said. “It also scared a lot of my friends and family. My wife, Heather was in shock.”
Imo is grateful for the care he received at Henry Mayo, both during and after his stay. During his three months in cardiac rehab, he was able to get back to the condition he was in before his heart attack, and learn about proper nutrition and diet. He is grateful to cardiac rehab nurses Dorinda Perez and Krista Dall.
“I was very well treated at Henry Mayo,” he said. “They were all very attentive, supportive, and answered my questions.
“After this experience, I am more active now than ever and watch what I eat. “I feel like I’m back to where I was before the heart attack.”
As of this time, Imo is back to work as a UPS supervisor and plans to run in the Santa Clarita 5K race.