Jen Petraitis said she does not remember anything about the medical emergency, which occurred four days after daughter Ella and son Jack's arrival

By Joelle Goldstein
November 06, 2020 07:10 PM
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Jen and Ryan Petraitis with their twins, Jack and Ella, and sons, Evan and Garrett
| Credit: Courtesy Jen Petraitis

An Ohio mom is grateful to be alive after she suffered a rare heart attack that nearly killed her in the wake of welcoming twins.

On Sept. 30, Jen Petraitis was in newborn bliss following the birth of her son Jack and daughter Ella, according to ABC affiliate WEWS.

However, just four days later, Jen's world was flipped upside down when she found herself undergoing emergency triple bypass open heart surgery at Summa Akron City Hospital after suffering a heart attack caused by Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD), WEWS reported.

"It feels very surreal," Jen, 37, told the outlet after recovering from the medical emergency. "It feels like they're telling me a story about somebody else."

Though Jen has no memory of the frightening incident, her husband Ryan Petraitis remembers that terrifying day very clearly.

"Everything was great in the hospital and the transition home," he told WEWS, adding that he and Jen looked forward to introducing Jack and Ella to their older brothers, sons Evan, 7, and Garrett, 3. "Everything went well."

Jen Petraitis with one of the twins
| Credit: Courtesy Jen Petraitis

But on Oct. 4, his excitement turned to fear when he went upstairs to check on his wife in their Green home and discovered Jen on the bedroom floor not breathing, WEWS reported.

"At that point, I started CPR, chest compressions and called 911," Ryan recalled to the outlet.

Once paramedics arrived, Ryan said they were able to detect a pulse on Jen, despite the mom of four still not breathing, and immediately rushed her to the hospital via ambulance.

"The ambulance driver told me that he was praying for us and said it was very serious," Ryan shared with WEWS.

Doctors later confirmed that Jen had suffered a heart attack caused by SCAD and would need emergency triple bypass surgery.

Considered to be an "uncommon occurrence," SCAD happens when there is a sudden tearing in the coronary artery wall, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The tear causes a narrowing or blockage of the artery and prevents blood flow from reaching the heart, the AHA reports.

It is currently unclear what causes SCAD, but researchers believe that it most often affects healthy women, and particularly those who are pregnant, recently gave birth or are experiencing/close to a menstrual cycle, according to AHA.

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Jen's open-heart surgery ultimately went well, and the mom of four has been slowly recovering at home since then.

As she reflects on the terrifying incident and the fact that she stopped breathing for an unknown amount of time, Jen can't help but think there was a higher power involved, which was responsible for preventing brain damage and saving her life.

"There were a lot of prayer chains going on, a lot of texts and messages and that's why I'm here," she told WEWS, as Ryan chimed in, "It's overwhelming. That's why she's here. I know it."

With the medical emergency now behind her, Jen now has a brand new perspective on life.

"Anytime I'm feeling down about some pain that I'm having or just not being able to be 100% myself, I'm here for them," she told WEWS of her four children. "That's all that matters."