‘This Is Us’ Brings Awareness to Heart Conditions

It’s safe to say that most people love or at least have heard of the show ‘This Is Us.’ Every Tuesday night, millions of Americans, sit in front of their TV and watch as the Pearson family’s generational story makes us laugh, cry, and marvel at the talent of the show. We’re used to having our hearts warmed but Sunday night’s episode brought a different focus on the heart. Everyone at AED.US was pleased to see awareness being brought to several conditions.

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading if you don’t want to find out details of the storyline.   

Cardiac Arrest

The doctor told Rebecca that Jack suffered a cardiac arrest in the hospital after helping his family escape from the house fire. He claimed smoke inhalation put stress on his lungs and heart. What is Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac Arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. Cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Seconds later, a person becomes unresponsive and death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.

What should you do?

Call 911 and start CPR right away. If an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it as soon as possible. The Chain of Survival and more information can be found at AED.US


Heart Attack

Some of the characters on ‘This Is Us’ used the term “heart attack” and “widowmaker” when discussing what happened to Jack. What are these?

A Heart Attack is a “plumbing” problem. It occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart that normally nourished by that artery begins to die.

Windowmaker references a type of heart attack that involves major blockage in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, one of three arteries that supply blood flow to the heart. This particular type of heart attack has a low survival rate.

What should you do?

Symptoms vary between each person, especially men and women. Even if you are not sure it’s a heart attack, call 911. EMS can begin treatment when they arrive.  

Are the two conditions linked?

Most heart attacks do not lead to cardiac arrest. But when cardiac arrest occurs, heart attack is a common cause. Other conditions may also disrupt the heart’s rhythm and lead to cardiac arrest.

For more info on Sudden Cardiac Arrest check out our Frequently Asked Questions section of our website.


Written by Blaire

Written by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director

Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C

Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.

“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”

Last updated January 19, 2018