Back on Stage After Life-Saving Heart Ablation
Jake Leet, 20, is a healthy, outgoing, happy and charismatic person. He lives his life on the stage, performing in local theater productions. In December, Jake survived an unexpected experience, and he has turned his miracle into a life-saving venture for others.
On Dec. 21, Jake had a heart attack on stage while playing the Donkey in a performance of "Shrek" at Theatre Lawrence. He was wearing a hot, padded costume and had just finished a strenuous scene. When Jake collapsed, several medical professionals in the audience performed CPR until paramedics arrived. He was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and put on life support and into a medically induced coma.
"We were not sure if he would come out of it, and if he did, what damage there might be to his heart and brain," Teri Leet, Jake's mom, said.
At the hospital, they discovered the heart attack was caused by a previously undiagnosed heart defect called Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome. This is a heart condition in which there is an abnormal extra pathway of the heart. To correct this condition and save Jake's life, he would need a heart ablation procedure at Olathe Medical Center.
After waking Jake from the medically induced coma, he had no apparent permanent damage. He was transferred to Olathe Medical Center where Ravi K. Yarlagadda, MD, FACC, a highly-trained electrophysiologist, performed a heart ablation procedure to cure the defect.
"I was so grateful that I was okay," Jake said. "I was most concerned about getting back on stage. I didn't understand the severity of what happened until after the heart ablation."
Dr. Yarlagadda said it's very rare for someone with WPW to have a heart attack, and even more rare for them to survive.
"This was nothing short of a miracle," Teri said. "We have a renewed faith, and I know there is a message God wants to spread through Jake."
Jake is now back on stage, rehearsing for an upcoming play at The Barn Players in Mission. He is also using his good fortune to make a difference. He and his family have launched a campaign to help get more people in the community trained in CPR and get automated external defibrillators (AEDs) put in public places.
Jake is so thankful to the medical professionals in the audience that night for performing CPR and saving his life. Without them, he might not have made it to the hospital.
"I could have had a heart attack at any time," Jake said. "I don't think it was mere coincidence that it happened around a lot of people. The more people who are certified in CPR, the more chance other lives will be saved."