Below Deck Mediterranean's Sandy Yawn Describes Moment She Realized She Was Having Heart Attack

Below Deck Mediterranean's Sandy Yawn Describes Moment She Realized She Was Having Heart Attack

Captain Sandy Yawn realized she was having a heart attack midway through an exercise class.

Opening up to PeopleTV‘s Reality Check, the Below Deck Mediterranean star, 54, revealed that she suffered a heart attack despite her otherwise clean bill of health, describing exactly what was going through her mind during the scary experience.

Yawn was working out in a SoulCycle class when she began to notice subtle symptoms — and the reality TV personality took it upon herself to quietly see her way to a nearby hospital.

“I remember thinking I was going to clip off the bike so I don’t fall, I didn’t want to disrupt the class, and I certainly wasn’t going to call 911 in the middle of Beverly Hills,” she says. “So I decided to call an Uber, and then I called my sister — and I survived.”

Recalling what she’d heard from experts about warning signs that may indicate a cardiac episode for women (which, she noted, can be different from what men encounter), Yawn said she felt “odd.”

“I could not swallow,” she says, “… I was watching my heart rate on my watch and it didn’t go down, and I started to feel lightheaded. I didn’t have any numbness, then when I got off my bike and walked outside, I started to feel the tingle in my left arm, exactly how described.”

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Sandy Yawn | Zev Schmitz/Bravo
Sandy Yawn | Zev Schmitz/Bravo

The health scare was brought on, Yawn says, from never being diagnosed with high blood pressure, a condition that went “unchecked” and led to SCAD, or spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a tear in the heart’s blood vessels.

“My health is great and it was great. That’s misleading to think that you have to be unhealthy to have a heart attack, that is not it. My veins are clean,” she says. “… I didn’t know I had high blood pressure, so as a result, I had what’s called SCAD, which they don’t have a lot of information on … I didn’t have blockage, it was a tear.”

After four days in the hospital, the Bravo star was cleared — no SoulCycle for 12 weeks, she says — and now she’s using her experience in partnership with the American Heart Association to raise awareness for heart health.

“A lot’s affected when you have a heart attack,” says Yawn. “My career is solid, I passed a physical — in fact, I have a heart of a 20-year-old; I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, it had nothing to do with that. It was high blood pressure that was unchecked, and also I’m sure my diet probably had a lot to do with it.”

Watch the full episode of Reality Check, streaming now on, or download the @PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

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Yawn — who announced in August that her girlfriend, singer Leah Shafer has breast cancer — explained that she discontinued her Adderall prescription after her heart attack, fearing it played a part in the episode.

“I have a hard time focusing — until I’m docking a boat, that’s when I can laser-focus because it’s so intense — and … I had a prescription of Adderall,” Yawn says. “I started taking the prescription as prescribed, and I believe it was a combination of the Adderall, topped with the high blood pressure and on SoulCycle.”

She adds: “My doctor recommended I don’t take that medication anymore, and since then I’m fine. I still have a hard time focussing, so I gotta work on that part, and I was told to meditate.”