Houston kickboxing teacher thankful to survive near-fatal heart attack: 'They shocked me four times'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A kickboxing instructor almost died in October while inside a west Houston gym, after suffering a heart attack and collapsing in class.

Alvino Santana said thanks to the quick-thinking actions of nearby employees he's here to celebrate another Thanksgiving. He said they used an automated external defibrillator along with CPR to restart his heart.

"They shocked me four times before they were able to find a rhythm," said Santana. "They kept going with that, until an ambulance came and took over."

Paramedics rushed Santana to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Memorial City, where he said doctors saved his life.

"I'm thankful for, not only my family, not only my life, but for all the people who contributed to me being here," Santana said.

Dr. Michael MacRis, a cardiovascular surgeon, is one of those people who helped save Santana. He credited the gym employees for stepping in to help, and the presence of a defibrillator.

"It was very grave," said MacRis. "In fact, he already died. Happily, he had his cardiac arrest while he was at work, teaching the kickboxing class ... so it was a witnessed event."

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