Montgomery Co. Cowboy ready to ‘get back in the saddle’ after suffering cardiac arrest

Cody Canton of Montgomery County believes he was born to rope. He's been doing it since he was only 3 years old. 

"It's not even really like a hobby. It's more like a lifestyle," says Cody. "Everything is roping and has been all of my life."

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His days of roping and rodeos are on hold while he heals from a shocking diagnosis of cardiac arrest. 

"My co-worker said I was just kind of like laid out, so he thought I was playing a prank, but I was out," explains Cody. "So, he pulled me out of the truck and put me in the middle of the road and started CPR & calling the ambulance."

Cody had just married his high school sweetheart. After their honeymoon at Palo Duro Canyon, he was feeling on top of the world. The day after they got home, a dramatic and drastic shift in his health came out of nowhere. 

"I talked to him at 1 o'clock. We were talking about his mom's birthday dinner that was supposed to be that night," recalls Mallory. "And then at 1:05, his boss called me and was like, Cody's unresponsive. And I said I was just on the phone with him five minutes ago. I have no idea why, he sounded fine on the phone."

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Cody is only 22 years old and says he doesn't drink alcohol or smoke, so he still can't believe this happened. Plus, it takes a lot of exercise to be a cowboy, so he's in strong physical shape. 

"I'm always running, lifting stuff, and staying active," he said. 

His doctors at Memorial Hermann are doing their part to figure it all out. 

"The MRI shows that there's some weakness in the heart muscle, the ejection fractions that we look at, and it was subtly reduced," explains Dr. Marwan Jumean, a cardiology specialist with UTHealth Houston & Memorial Hermann. "That was probably the culprit of what caused the heart to stop."

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They turned to Cody's DNA for answers. 

"We did some testing because this is very unusual for someone to just have an irregular rhythm that causes the heart to stop," says Dr. Jumean. Cody suffered from a serious problem called dilated cardiomyopathy. "One of the things that we did is genetic testing, just to look for any predisposition based on the genetic testing, and it showed that there's a gene mutation that can cause some of the issues that we saw."

He and his new bride are still shocked, yet thankful about the timing. 

"It definitely would have been a different situation if we had been hiking because just a few days before we were down in the canyon, with no service, hiking 10 miles a day, and even then, he had no symptoms or signs or anything," reflects Cody. "I definitely don't know how I could have gotten him out of the canyon by myself," says Mallory. "As horrible as it was, I couldn't even think of a better time, it was perfect timing because my colleague was there who knew CPR. We had no phone service to call 911."

Doctors surgically placed an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator or ICD in Cody's chest, a small battery-powered device to not only detect but stop irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias. 

"It's a pacemaker and defibrillator so if my heart goes into an irregular rhythm, it'll shock it back to a normal rhythm," explains Cody. "And also if my heart rate goes too low, they can pace it up higher where they want it or if it gets too high, it can actually pace a little lower."


It has had to shock his heart back into rhythm seven times, so it's doing its job! An electrophysiologist at Memorial Hermann also performed an ablation to help keep his heart in the correct rhythm. 

His team of doctors at Memorial Hermann agrees this is a remarkable case. 

"He's very lucky!" says Dr. Jumean. "This is something that people don't make it to the hospital. So, him being here today and feeling great, this is definitely great." 


Cody hopes to be fully healed and back to roping again within a year. The Canton's faith has really helped them get through all this. 

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