Heart Attack Survivor: "I Felt I Was in the Care of Angels Who Never Let Go"

heart attack survivor seth leibsohn and interventional cardiologist gary kauffman, md
Seth Leibsohn is enjoying good health today, thanks to efforts made by interventional cardiologist Gary Kauffman, MD, when Seth suffered a heart attack last Fall.

The mysteries of the human heart have inspired poets and intrigued the rest of us since the dawn of time. Even in this day of advanced scientific knowledge, the heart is unpredictable.

KKNT radio host and communications consultant Seth Leibsohn knows all about unexpected heart activity. With one exception, he was a role model for cardiac health. He ran every day with Dagny, his 3-year-old Brittany Spaniel, hit the gym three or four times a week, ate healthy and was not overweight.

More in HealthBeat

healthbeat cover may june 2013

This article appears in the May - June 2013 edition of HealthBeat, John C. Lincoln's free health newsletter.

» See the current issue

Last summer, he passed a cardiac stress test.

Yet in November, at age 43, he suffered a massive heart attack. "It was a shock," he said. "I was working at home and got a tremendous pain in my chest. I was sweating. I laid down on my marble floor, and it didn't help. Then the pain went down my arms. That's when I knew I was having a heart attack. I took an aspirin and called 9-1-1. Phoenix Fire was here in minutes and whisked me to John C. Lincoln."

"Our chest pain team works like the trauma team," said interventional cardiologist Gary Kauffman, MD, medical director of Cardiology at North Mountain Hospital. "They respond very quickly when a heart attack patient arrives, and they follow protocols to be sure blood flow is restored to the heart muscle in less than 90 minutes, the national standard of care."

One of Seth's three main arteries, the circumflex on the back side of his heart, was completely blocked, Dr. Kauffman said. If it had not been opened within the 90-minute window, Seth would have had severe heart damage and could have died.

But the Cath Lab team led by Dr. Kauffman quickly inserted a stent, restoring blood flow. Seth went to the hospital's Cardiovascular ICU. Three days later, he was home.

"Everyone was amazing," he said. "The staff in the ER rushed to save my life, but they were concerned about what else they could do for me, who they could call.

"I was in the worst pain of my life and terrified," he remembered. "Yet, from the very moment I was brought in, the entire staff, along with Dr. Kauffman, were wonderful. They were full of good cheer, assurances, help, you name it.

"And the ICU was equally caring," he continued. "I don't know how I would have made it through the first night without my nurses who stayed with me, calmed me and talked with me. I felt I was in the care of angels who held my hand throughout the whole ordeal and never let go."

Today, Seth is hosting his "Arizona Politics and Culture" radio show, exercising, doing yoga and hiking or running daily with Dagny. Everything is back to the way it was — with one exception.

"I quit smoking," Seth said. "I'll never do that again!"

For more information about John C. Lincoln cardiac services, visit

Return to main News page.