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MrsCrosby, January 31,  2021  12:06pm EST

Cardiac arrest and Heart failure age 42

Dear Community,

My husband had a cardiac arrest at age 42 a month ago which has left him with heart failure now with an ejection fraction of 26-30%. He was shocked 3 times and brought back during the event. He had a stent put in the one vessel that was occluded (the LAD), and he is making a good recovery. He has not had any chest pain and is not short of breath, but he has not been pushing himself a lot either. I am desperate for help please as his mental state has been affected more then anything. He is depressed and thinks his life is over, and nobody understands. He died and came back but he feels like he is useless now so he was betterr off dying. He will not talk to anyone about it as nobody understands. He thinks that he is now like an 80 year old and is being treated like he is an 80 year old with heart failure and he will not be able to live his life like he would have. I keep telling him that there must be other people who have experiened this at his age, and that talking to them would help, but he does not belive me.

I would be endlessly grateful if sombody who has gone through this at his age could reach out to me so maybe I can help him become positive with his outlook in his life. 

Many thanks

a very worried wife.

6 Replies
  • AHAModerator
    AHAModerator, January 31,  2021  3:46pm EST

    Hello there,

    It is so kind of you to seek support for, and reach out on behalf of your husband. I can imagine this can be very frightening and sad to experience. As you continue to garner advice and insights from others on these forums, I would also encourage you to share with him this resource on Heart Failure Personal Stories. Please let us know how your husband is doing in his recovery.

    Best Wishes,

    AHA Moderator

  • willmel
    willmel, February 2,  2021  11:40am EST

    My husband had his 1st heart attack 5 yrs ago at age 44.With alot of lifestyle changes, weight Loss, Exercise, etc. he made good recovery- but then we let things gradually slide again ( bad eating Habits, weight Gain, Stress, lack of cardio excercise) and he had his 2nd, more serious HA last May.

    This one was very severe and he had to be shocked approx 5-7 times (I was watching and lost count).  We again did drastic lifestyle changes and his EF went up to somewhere in the 40s.  By last Summer, he was again Hiking, Camping, etc. without any signs of heart problems.

    Unfortunately he developed pericarditis in November and had to be hospitalized - still slowly recovering from this condition that basically makes you bed ridden for thats been really difficult to deal with.

    We have needed to find things to keep his mind active since he can't do anything physical right now.  Means I have to sit and watch endless Documentaries, Podcasts, etc with him and then we discuss.  For Him, I think the mental stimulation helps ward off depression.

    Anyhow- I wanted to respond to you bc my husband and I both feel like he may not have had 2nd HA if we had put more effort into maintaining healthy lifestyle after his 1st HA.  Not positive on That, but we were definitely more careless than should have been.

    He was able to mend and raise his EF slowly both times thru Diet, Exercise, stress management.

    His situation is extra challenging right Now, but medical technology is advancing at a rapid pace so we are optimistic that if we continue doing everything we can to keep him Healthy, it may not be long before they are fully able to fix all heart issues.


  • NewPacer73
    NewPacer73, February 5,  2021  9:15am EST

    Your husband is the age of my son and I totally get how disappointed he is that he has these issues at this age. My son was surprised too. But he has seen me live decades with heart failure and other issues that ended up having little impact on my lifestyle over the years. The bad news is he has these issues confronting him, like my son.The good news is cardiology has exponentially grown in alternatives for these challenges. My son is active, does healthy eating, and started with five minutes on the eliptical slowly in each direction. Now doing 30 minutes. He sees it as a challenge. Heck if Mom can survive this stuff, so can I. Initially, there was a "what a bummer" attitude that soon gave way to him becoming determined. If your husband is down now because of this turn of events he was not expecting, know that is normal. We all know the heart functioning properly is not optional and must be managed. I'm almost 75 now and my brother is almost 78 with the same thing.  I didn't expect myself to live beyond 53 because my mom and her sisters died of cancer at that age. I was wrong. With cardiac issues surfacing, at first I was really bummed out. Felt hopeless. The process of learning how advanced cardiology is took awhile. I died once too. Today I am a fully functioning retired senior with no limits, even in the terrible pandemic. By the way, the pandemic isolation was way worse than the heart issues for me. What he doesn't know today is the state of the art of cardiology in 2021. It's going to take time for him to regroup. My son, his age, went through the phases of feeling like his life as he knew it is over. That morphed into gaining information on what can be done. Now he's in the phase of I'm not taking this lying down. I'm a survivor. Let him feel his feelings like a black storm cloud that, as it does in nature, gives way to sunshine eventually. If he needs help processing this, like my son, find him someone to talk to personally. Love him, support him and once he gathers data on what's going on and what the options are, I think he will process it and begin his fight back to a good quality of life. I can relate to loving someone who feels like giving up as a Mom. I have lived a great life and have more days behind me than left to live. But it's been a series of cardiological interventions that has made my life so much more normal than I ever dreamed it could be. It wasn't the end. It was a new and different beginning. Thanks for writing and keep us posted on how he's doing. Sending cyber hugs to you and him.

  • MrsCrosby
    MrsCrosby, February 8,  2021  7:54pm EST

    Dear Willmel and NewPacer73 and Moderator

    Many thanks for your kind words and replies. It does help to know that my husband is not the only one going through this. He is not like other people though, he has been angry for most of his life, and now, his anger is a miilion times worse. He told me this evening, that he should have just died, as his life is over now anyway. He really does need to talk to somebody, but he will not talk to anybody. He understands a lot of medical things so when people try to talk to him in basic terms, he gets very angry. The only bad lifestyle habit he had was smoking, he was in the military for 20 years, so he was very fit and had healthy eating habits. He inhereited bad genes and together with the smoking, I guess led him to be the youngest in his family to have a cardiac arrest, but his was worse then his fathers and grandfathers as they did not go into heart failure. 

    If any of you can help me to find someone professional who specialises in young patients having had a cardiac arrest or in heart failure for him to talk to maybe he will entertain the idea, as he knows that he is messed up but he does not have the emotional capability to deal with it all.

    Again, thanking you all kindly for your help and support

    The worried wife


  • jerzeycate
    jerzeycate, May 14,  2021  1:30am EST
    122968318_1800203213452224_7818128973285551706_n (1).jpg.

    Is he doing any better?

    If not then it's time to see a therapist.

    My *** referred me to a therapist who specialized in worked with patients with Serious Medical Issues. She didn't look at me as if I have 3 heads as other people did (and to some extent still do when I talk about this and it was in April of 2013).

    As I understand your initial post, your husband's cardiac arrest was related to a blockage. This brings up other issues that I have not experience (mine was Sudden Cardiac Arrest which is the result of an electrical malfunction rather than a plumbing problem-blockage). A viral infection had decimated the electrical sysytem in my heart living with CHF/DCM/Afib/AV Block and a host of other diagnoses that CHF seems to bring with her in my suitcase.

    My EF was 11%. The first Cardiologist who saw mw said I had "three months without an immediate transplant." He told my husband to "Take her home. Make her comfortable. Get her affairs in order." I was 54 and had been through a full cardiac workup just 12 weeks earlier (due to family history) at which time my heart was in perfect working order.

    It's a tough one to get through. Very few people are so directly faced with their own mortality and Survive. I was lucky but did not feel lucky at all.

    Unless he gets some assistance in processing this experience and the losses it has caused in his life (both individually, as husband and wife, and as a family) it will be hard to muster the strength needed to do battle.

    It's been about 8 years since I was given my "3-month Expiration Date." An experimental Complex Cardiac Device (Medtronic Quadripolar S-CRT-D) was implanted in my heart to take over the loss electrical functions. My EF is 55%. It took about 18 months to get there, but there was improvement in my EF (with medications, dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and very mild exercise--I was too sick for the first couple years to do much exercise, and treatment protocols) within 4 months. The CHF is in remission. The COPD that came along for the ride resolved with no residual effects. The Kidney failure (a result of adverse reactions to the diuretics) resolved with no residual effects. For the firsst 5 years I had over 20 physicians as part of my care team I called my *** "The Ringmaster" and it was my very own circus. I now have my ***, my Cardiologist, and a Cardiac Electrophysiologist. The rest of the team was benched but stand at the ready should we encounter any further issue.

    Just remember that 

    Where there is Life, There is Hope.


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