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From Heart Attack to Boston Marathon, One Step at a Time

September 12, 2019

In November 2009, Rodney Vieira was raking leaves in his Chevy Chase backyard when he began gasping for breath. Suddenly, his body felt heavy and he could barely put one foot in front of the other.

Although he was about 40 pounds overweight and had a family history of coronary disease, Vieira thought he was too young, at 41, to be having a heart attack.

But when his left arm began tingling, he recognized the classic heart attack symptom and shouted to his wife, Trish, to call 911.

He took an aspirin and laid down, waiting for help. “The pain was just excruciating,” he recalls. “It felt like somebody was stabbing me in the heart.”

Vieira was rushed by ambulance to Suburban Hospital, where cardiologist Nancy Davenport, M.D., inserted three stents in the occluded coronary artery to re-establish normal blood flow to the heart.

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