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NSSGA Podcast

Jul 8, 2021

Rob Lanham is the Aggregates Program Manager at the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance. He joins the show today to discuss his recent heart attack, the symptoms he experienced, and the importance of acting on chest pains immediately rather than ignoring the pain or waiting for it to pass. Rob waited only 15 minutes from the onset of chest pains before being rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a “Widowmakers Heart Attack.” His doctors credit his quick response with saving his life and preventing permanent damage to his heart. Rob discusses the lifestyle changes he has undertaken since his dangerous health scare, and reminds listeners to seek medical attention right away should they notice any of the signs or symptoms of a heart attack.


Episode Highlights

  • Rob was awakened by severe chest pains and it began migrating to his shoulder and down to his left arm
  • Went to the hospital within 15 minutes of onset of symptoms, and was told he was suffering from “Widowmaker’s Heart Attack”
  • Stent was inserted in his left interior descending artery to clear a 90% blockage
  • This experience caused Rob to reevaluate his diet, exercise, and stress level, and make several lifestyle changes
  • Acting quickly and going to the hospital within 15 minutes of experiencing chest pains saved Rob’s life and prevented major permanent damage to his heart


Toolbox Talk Discussion Questions

  • What are our company emergency procedures? Where is the first aid kit and where is the AED?
  • Walk through a refresher of basic CPR – for example, what is the appropriate beats per minute to do compressions at? How many rounds of compressions should you do?
  • What is one small thing you can do at home to improve your health and decrease your risk of a heart attack?
  • What is one small thing the company could do to improve worker health and decrease risks of a heart attack?
  • Does anyone have a story about health scares they’d like to share?



“I know everybody’s heard that, but it’s true. That’s the first tell-tale sign of a heart attack.”


“I started perspiring profusely. That’s your second tell-tale sign you’re having a heart attack.”


“I’m going to have to exercise from now on. I’m going to have to eat a lot healthier. I’m going to have to reduce the stress in my life.”


“I’m extremely grateful to still be here, to still be able to see my family and see my grandchildren.”


“Quite honestly, I don’t miss the things that I used to eat that probably led to the artery blockages.”


“What got me to this was I acted quickly on my chest pains. I didn’t wait for an hour, or two, or three.”



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