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“Completely out of the blue;” local woman shares story of postpartum heart attack

bridget holds baby belle in a family photo
Bridget Klassen and her family were shocked when they learned she suffered from a Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Bridget Klassen never had a heart issue before 2020.

“I just woke up sweating, and I don’t sweat. My heart was racing, so I thought, ‘Well, I must be hot.’ I tried to get out of our bedroom and down the hall, and woke up on the floor a few times because I had collapsed,” Bridget said.

She and her husband, Brandon welcomed their baby girl into the world in February, and everything seemed fine. Then Bridget started feeling chest pains in August.

“It’s so unexpected, she’s so young and she’s been so healthy. Completely out of the blue,” Brandon said.

Bridget suffered a Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, or SCAD. It's a rare heart attack where a heart artery inexplicably tears. There's no known cause, however it most commonly occurs in women after delivering a baby.

Dr. Jacob DeLaRosa, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Portneuf Medical Center, has seen this type of heart attack before. He performed an emergency bypass surgery, saving Bridget's life just in time.

“The longer she would have waited or didn’t come in, she either could have died or her heart would have been permanently damaged that we couldn’t bring it back anymore,” DeLaRosa said.

Bridget is recovering, though she said it's been difficult. She wants people to take her story seriously.

“Especially when it’s your heart or your chest, go right away. We as moms, we tend to not put ourselves first. Like, I’m just tired, I’m just hungry, it’s just heartburn. We would never consider it could be us,” Bridget said.

The Portneuf Medical Center wants to remind people that the hospital is a safe place to seek care, even during the pandemic. Staff are taking measures to prevent spreading Covid-19 and all visitors are required to wear a mask.

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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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