Wayne in running gear with his daughter and son on Sydney Harbour Bridge

Wayne's cardiac arrest story

I suffered a cardiac arrest training for my fifth marathon

Wayne Raven had never been in hospital until he woke up in intensive care. He was told he had suffered a cardiac arrest and had been placed in an induced coma.

Wayne running the New York marathon

It was a huge shock to both Wayne and his family who thought he was in the best shape of his life. He was just about to compete in his fifth overseas marathon in Chicago.

“I had done two New York marathons and two Chicago marathons, the last two in under four hours and was on track to complete my fifth in a similar time. If this could happen to a very fit person like me, it could happen to anyone. No-one is bullet proof, and I would urge everyone to go and get a heart health check,” says Wayne.

Wayne was in the final kilometre of a 35 kilometre training run when he collapsed in Sydney near Walsh Bay in 2014. He was found lying on the pavement by a passer-by who called an ambulance, but then had a stroke of luck when an off-duty nurse came past and performed CPR till paramedics arrived. It undoubtedly saved his life, and he was then taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.

“The last thing I remember was feeling really good in my run. The next thing I know is I wake up two days later in the Intensive Care Unit,” says Wayne.

“I later found out that they had told my family to get to the hospital fast because things didn’t look so good. My daughter who is a doctor flew in from Adelaide. They thought I could have brain damage which is why they put me in an induced coma for two days.”

Wayne’s first words to his cardiologist were: “Can I still run the Chicago Marathon?” Incredibly, tests revealed that his brain was functioning normally and today he has no ongoing issues other than some fatigue.

It turned out that Wayne’s cardiac arrest was caused by a spasm in his left ventricle artery. The artery was weak, and the spasm was strong enough to result in his artery closing and not having the strength to re-open.

Wayne wearing a business suit in the city

Despite having a stent inserted to keep his left ventricle open, he is now unable to run long distances. “I have to keep my heart rate at a manageable level so whilst I can go to the gym and do an intensive cardio workout on an exercise bike, my marathon days are over. I do miss running of course but I understand why I had to give it up.”

Now aged 63 and retired from his job running Global Corporate Foreign Exchange at Westpac, Wayne’s focus is keeping healthy.

“Nine out of 10 people who have a sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospital don’t survive and some who do have long term health issues. Knowing that makes me even more determined to look after my health.

“I make sure I take my medications and I exercise every day. I feel I’ve been given a second chance at life, so my main aim is to stay alive and healthy for as long as possible,” adds Wayne.
Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years