Director Kevin Smith survives 'widow-maker' heart attack; expert talks about common signs

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Movie director Kevin Smith is recovering Monday from what he said was a "massive heart attack."

Smith posted a picture of himself in the hospital on social media, saying his life-saving doctor told him he had 100 percent blockage in an artery that is known as a "widow-maker."

The 47-year-old filmmaker first hit the screen in 1994 as Silent Bob in the movie, "Clerks."

But the actor and director has not been silent about the heart attack he suffered Sunday while performing at the Alex Theater in Glendale.

Smith was in the middle of filming a comedy special, when he suffered what the director of cardiology at Providence Health System, Dr. Daniel Eisenberg, described as classic symptoms.

"Chest pressure, nausea, vomiting, sweating or any of those symptoms singularly," he said.

On Instagram, Smith described being taken to a Glendale hospital suffering from complete blockage of his LAD artery.

"If I hadn't canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would have died tonight," Smith said.

Eisenberg said these types of blockages are often removed in the catheter lab, but you have to get to the hospital right away.

"In this day and age, in the year 2018, you can do pretty well if you get caught quickly and fixed quickly," he said.

The left anterior descending artery, or the widow-maker, runs from the top of the heart to the middle and to the bottom of the organ.

If there's a blockage, doctors said, it can do significant damage to the heart muscle.

"It's the main single artery in the heart that supplies a great deal to the heart muscle. If you lose that there's so little muscle left that people die from that blockage," Eisenberg said.

He added the most important thing Smith is doing is spreading the word about prevention because just like his alter-ego Bob, up to half of heart attacks are silent.

"There may not be any way to know, but there is a way to prevent," Eiseberg said, "If you've got high blood pressure, treat it. If you've got a big belly, and you're a man in particular, that means there's a higher likelihood that you're going to have a heart attack."

After the heart attack, Smith posted "I'm sure I'll be facing some lifestyle changes."

He joked he might even go vegan.
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