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Bob Odenkirk has spoken out for the first time about the heart attack he suffered on the set of Better Call Saul last year.
In an interview on The Howard Stern Show on Monday (28 February), the veteran actor and comedian credited CPR, a defibrillator and the intense physical training he did for the film Nobody as factors that saved his life after experiencing a 'heart incident' while filming the sixth and final season of the hit Netflix drama last July.
Odenkirk, 59, said that someone on set immediately rushed to his aid and started performing CPR on him when he first suffered the medical emergency, an action the actor claims 'saved my life'.
The series’ health officer then ran to her car and grabbed a defibrillator, which was used on the actor three times before he was able to be successfully resuscitated, Odenkirk told Stern.
He said: “After around 12 minutes of CPR, [health officer] Rosa ran to her car to grab a defibrillator because we didn’t have one on set.
"It took three attempts to get me to a rhythm, which is actually a lot, Howard.
"When the defibrillator doesn’t work once, that’s not good. When it doesn’t work the second time, that is kind of like - forget it.
"But then they jacked it up a third time, and it got me back to a rhythm."
Odenkirk then explained to Stern how he underwent emergency surgery the morning after the heart attack, in which doctors managed to successfully clear the built-up plaque from his left heart anterior.
After a brief period of recovery, Odenkirk was then able to get back to work on his show and start filming again in early September.
But in addition to the excellent medical care he received, Odenkirk also cites the fitness regime he underwent for his role in the action film Nobody as being a key factor in helping him pull through.
He said: “Because I was in good shape, you kind of enlarge other veins around your heart, if you work out a lot.
"And I was told that more blood was able to go to my heart during CPR because these veins were just a little bit bigger from a lot of working out.”
“So some lucky things happened - I had trained and did that movie which meant I was in good shape, but most of all I was near my co-stars Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian who rushed right to my side.
"Rhea held my head and Patrick grabbed my hand and they were just yelling and yelling. It took a few seconds, maybe a minute or two, for someone to walk over there and see what was happening, and then everybody kicked into gear.”
After recounting the experience, Bob concluded with a piece of advice for listeners: “Take CPR classes, because you can save lives with them."
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