Dr. Kevin Pistawka

Position: Staff – Non-Invasive Cardiologist at Kelowna General Hospital
Medical Lead – Cardiology Education, Rehab and RACE Clinic Kelowna General Hospital
Board Member- KGH Foundation
Clinical Assistant Professor –University of British Columbia
Current Professional Activities



Current Professional Activities

  • General cardiologist, Kelowna General Hospital (1994-present)
  • Echo/ Rehab/ Office/ CCU/ pacer clinic/ RACE clinic/ Education (CME/ UBCO)
  • COACH  (Central Okanagan Association for Cardiac Health) cardiac rehabilitation program– Medical Director (1999 – present)
  • UBCO Associate Professor (2008 – present)
  • Cardiology lead for UBCO Medical Student/Resident education
  • Research involvement- principal investigator, co-PI > 30 clinical trials.
  • Chief Division of Cardiology (2007-2015)
  • Sports Cardiology BC  – Okanagan Lead , 2013 – present


  • High School – North Vancouver (Handsworth-1979)
  • Medical school – UBC (1986)
  • Int. Med. Residency/ Internships – Ottawa, New Zealand, UBC  (1987- 1992)
  • Cardiology Fellowship (1992-1994) – UBC


  • KGH Foundation Board member (2011 – present)
  • Kelowna Minor Hockey coach/trainer > 20 teams
  • Okanagan Mission Youth Soccer coach >20 teams


  • married, 4 children (ages 20- 27)

Interests – Travel, Golf, Beer League Hockey, Skiing (water, x-country, downhill), Biking, Volleyball

Heart Attack vs Sudden Death

Dr. Kevin Pistawka, MD, FRCSC, Cardiologist, discusses diagnosis and treatment for heart attack vs sudden death.

Contact us today for more information on Heart Attack vs Sudden Death

They are actually a bit of an overlap. Heart attack is typically when an artery blocks off suddenly, deprives the heart of oxygen and blood, and the heart muscle then starts to die, and we’ve got hours to restore that.

We can do that with clot busters, we can do that with stents, and typically the patient is experiencing severe chest pain and needs urgent attention. Not all patients with heart attacks, however, suffer a sudden death. Many of them come into hospital and they get treated without anything life threatening to the point that they would actually die.

A sudden death, however, is very different. This is when a patient suddenly drops to the floor and everything stops. The heart rhythm basically goes often very, very fast 200, 300 beats a minute, and then eventually after several minutes of a very fast rhythm we see a flat line and sudden death