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Metro man shares warning after having heart attack while shoveling snow

A man shares his story of having a heart attack after shoveling snow and why it's important to take it easy when removing so much of it.

GRIMES, Iowa — A metro man is warning others to be careful when shoveling snow following a heart attack he had Saturday morning. 

It came while Bo James was trying to clear his snow-covered driveway after the weekend storms

"I didn't even have half of my driveway done," he said. "I don't even think I had a quarter of my driveway done."

A native Iowan, James said removing snow from the driveway is something he's done all his life. 

Saturday, however, it was different. He said he got tired twice and had to take two breaks, but after the second break, wasn't able to get up.

"All of a sudden I was too weak, too weak to get up period so I was just stuck on those steps," James said.

While sitting on the steps, unable to get up, he began moaning. 

His chest felt like it was on fire and like he needed to throw up and he was turning from side to side to relieve the pain.  

James thought it was a respiratory issue since he has asthma. His wife Trisha suspected a heart attack and called 911. 

"They take me to the hospital immediately," James said. "I go into surgery, I was awake through the whole time, they put a stint in my main artery because it was 100 percent clogged."

He stated first responders in the ambulance told him he coded before going to the hospital. 

Dr. Nicole Gilg Gachiani, chief physician quality officer at Broadlawns Medical Center, said people having a heart attack after shoveling snow is not that common, but it does happen.

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"If you are going from a very sedentary lifestyle where you're not typically doing much physical activity and then all of a sudden you go outside and do something that is very physical … it is something we would urge caution," Gilg Gachiani said.

And with the chance of more snow coming this winter, James wants people in the community to be careful if they are tasked with moving it. 

"If you are feeling a certain type of way and it's unusual to you, do something."

James is expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday and said he does not plan to shovel again.

Gilg Gachiani added if someone is not super active but does have to remove snow on their own this winter season, it is best to go slow and take lots of breaks. 

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