WWE wrestler and commentator Jerry Lawler continues to recover from a serious heart attack in a Montreal hospital. Pro wrestling fans must have wondered if they were seeing a stunt on the September 10 broadcast of “Monday Night Raw” as Lawler collapsed at the broadcast table and medical personnel were summoned. In a sport known for its theatrics, Lawler was not acting.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Lawler received immediate medical attention. CPR was performed and medical personnel used a defibrillator to shock his heart over a half dozen times. He was rushed to a Montreal hospital from the Belle Center in that city.
The National Post reported on Saturday that Lawler underwent an angioplasty, a procedure that reveals blockages in coronary arteries and allows the surgeon to use a balloon-like device to reopen the blood vessel. Lawler received several stents, which act to keep the blood vessel open at the site of the blockage. It is unclear how many blockages Lawler had.
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), is usually caused by the sudden blockage of one or more of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Blockages can be the result of blood clots or globules of fat that become stuck in the artery. They can also be caused by the buildup of plaque on the walls of the artery which eventually closes the vessel.
The loss of blood flow to a portion of the heart muscle causes the overt symptoms of a heart attack. If that area of the heart goes without blood flow for too long, it will be damaged and the cells will die. This weakens the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. A serious blockage can stop the heart and death may result without medical attention.
Lawler received that attention. Along with the angioplasty and stents, he was given medication to support the damaged heart, and to prevent additional blood clots from forming. His breathing was assisted for several days by a ventilator. He is now off the ventilator, awake, and able to talk with family and friends. He may be released from the hospital in the next several days.
Lawler’s recovery will include a number of medications, to prevent blood clots, to support the damaged heart and to reduce cholesterol. If there is damage to the heart, he may undergo cardiac rehabilitation. He may be asked to change his diet and include more heart-healthy foods. His return to WWE will depend on many factors but it cannot be ruled out this early in his recovery.