Abnormality of arteries led to half-marathon runner's death
An abnormality in the arteries around a runner's heart caused him to collapse and die in Sunday's Pittsburgh half marathon, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said.
Kyle Chase Johnson, 23, a former football player for North Allegheny High School who recently ran a half marathon in New York, died of “an inherited abnormality of the coronary artery system,” which supplies blood and oxygen to the muscles of the heart.
Under certain stressful conditions, the condition can prevent parts of the heart from getting enough oxygen, resulting in an irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest, said Dr. Karl Williams, the medical examiner.
Johnson, a Penn State graduate, Downtown resident and auditor for Deloitte & Touche, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest at 8:45 a.m. near mile marker 12 in Uptown, slightly more than a mile from the half-marathon finish line. Paramedics attempted to resuscitate him at the scene and en route to UPMC Mercy, where he was declared dead at 9:47 a.m.
The rare defect is “known to be associated with sudden, unexpected death,” Williams said, citing the 1988 death of NBA star and Aliquippa native Pete Maravich.
“Maravich played a full NBA career and then died in a pickup game years later,” Williams said. “It's all a matter of what stresses the heart is under.”
It's also rare for doctors to screen for such conditions before any symptoms occur, given the rarity of the abnormalities and the risk and expense of the tests. Detecting the slight abnormalities in the number and arrangement in arteries requires either expensive and detailed medical scans or an injection of special dye that shows where the arteries are, Williams said.
Johnson's friends and family said he hadn't shown signs of health problems before collapsing.
“He'd been as healthy as an ox” until Sunday, his roommate and former football teammate, Alex Calder, told the Tribune-Review.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Distracted Steelers show nothing in loss to Eagles
- Records: Steelers RB Bell admitted smoking pot before traffic stop but denied being high
- Police investigate Hill District shooting
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- NFL could delay punishment
- Indiana Township police on lookout for loose alligator
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- Man, woman sought in PNC robbery in Uniontown
- Will soft foes mean fast start to the season for Pitt football team?
- Drills put police, teachers in danger zone
- Google Maps opens business doors to online views for shoppers