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In November I went into cardiac arrest, was resusicated and had 2 stents. I was out of state at the time. The hospital said my ejection fraction per an echo was 37 and sent me home with a life vest. I was out of state when the event happened. A month later (December) my new cardiologist ordered a muga which shows my ejection fraction is 27. When i questioned my doctor if it actually went down, he stated that he didnt know if the echo in the hospital was accurate. He also told me not to focus on the number but obviously I'm extremely concerned. I will have a follow up muga in February. Is it possible that my EF went down in a month? I am starting cardiac rehab in the next week or so, eating right, no smoking or drinking, staying active and taking my medicines. What else can I do to help improve my number? From what i have been reading, it is very possible to improve my EF after cardiac arrest. I am 48 yo. Thank you in advance for your information.
JerryJan11, January 5, 2020 10:02pm EST
Have a story very similar to yours. I am also 48 and had an EF of 30-35. My event was 1/11/19 and I also got a stent.
My advice would be to not worry about it going down, because it probably didn't. The EF's are such an inexact science. There is an error margin of +|-10%. Focus on getting it up now. Concentrate on your diet and do exactly what they say in rehab. In fact, be militant about the diet.
My EF was 55 only 3 months later. Best of luck and reach out if I can help you. These times after can be hard. You are lucky to be alive.
JerryJan11, January 5, 2020 10:05pm EST
Also, wanted to say, if they weren't specific about your dietary limitations, let me know. My Dr was and I track everything in Myfitnesspal. Highly recommend it.
Lisad2, January 5, 2020 10:33pm EST
Thank you so much JerryJan11. Basically, I was instructed on my sodium limits when I was in the hospital which I am keeping track of in a journal and am very strict with. The nutritionist in the hospital recommended I used calorieking to find sodium content as well as other nutritional information. My cardiologist's office gave me information on what foods to choose, go easy on and avoid as far as cholesterol. I have also been watching sugar / carbs since I have read that sugar can have an impact on heart health.I would definitely appreciate any advice you have. I have been strict with my diet but I am hoping to get more information when i start cardiac rehab. Making good choices in a restaurant has been the most challenging. I will definitely try myfitnesspal. Thank you. I hope you are back to full health!
JerryJan11, January 6, 2020 12:28pm EST
If you have a regular email address, let me know what that is and we can correspond on it. Using this site is a little painful sometimes.
What I wanted to say about the EF is those results are so subjective. Different people can look at the same test and come up with different results. You're on medication now for heart failure that will help your heart heal and I'd be surprised if your EF doesn't improve so long as you do what the Dr's say to do.
I also had a LifeVest for 3 months. That thing sucked! I learned a ton about my health through everything. My Dr said to restrict my daily diet to 20g of saturated fat, 1500 mg of sodium, and 300mg of cholesterol. I was in great shape when I had the heart attack and was actually training for a marathon. Mine was caused by bad genetics. It will be a year this Saturday and I'm in the best shape of my life. I continue to adhere to the dietary restrictions but I'm not afraid to make exceptions. I am back to running as much as I was before but I'm a completely different person mentally and physically.
CalorieKing is great but MyFitnessPal will do the same. You can scan barcodes on most foods and it will download the dietary information. Eating in restaurants is hard, especially when it's all new to you, like now. I ate a lot of fruit cups and salads. You can order dressing but instead of pouring it on, dip your fork in for a little. Avoid all Mexican & Chinese restaurants, chicken wings, stuff like that. Salmon is good but it does have high sodium. I fell into a groove of eating basically the same thing every day: Shredded wheat with fresh fruit, 1% milk for breakfast / Morningstar chik patties for lunch with low sodium bread and an apple, and rice with grilled chicken for dinner. To satisfy a sweet tooth, there are several low sodium desert options. No bake cookies aren't terrible. Lisa, you are basically eating to live now...not living to eat. Once you accept that, you'll be fine. I attached a screen print of my MyFitness Pal diet results from yesterday so you can see.
Hope you take some time to consider what you've been through. This was the biggest mind-f*ck of all time for me. I still obsess about my health all the time. I ended up latching on to 1-2 people from this site and another I joined for support and I still talk to those people sometimes. Not a lot of people can relate to what you've been through.
Take care, and feel free to call or email whenever.
Lisad2, January 6, 2020 2:38pm EST
Thank you so much for the information. It was extremely helpful. I also feel better about my EF. I will beat this! It is great to hear that you are back to running. That gives me hope! I was also in great health and was told my event was due to genetics.
JerryJan11, January 6, 2020 2:49pm EST
I finished the Philadelphia marathon on 11/24. Not my best time but the best feeling I've ever had in accomplishing a goal. If you are athletic, you could also try Cardiac Athletes on Facebook. Lots of chatter there and success stories too. It's a closed group so you have to explain why you want to join.
You are only the 2nd person I've ever responded to on here. Your age and LifeVest scenario caught my attention! Best of luck, glad I could help.
Keep going, Lisa!
Lisad2, January 7, 2020 7:50pm EST
Congrats on completing the marathon! That is amazing! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that you responded to me. Knowing that someone else had a very similar situation and is doing ok has made me feel so much better. When I found out my EF, I was pretty deflated. I will look for the group but I am not sure if I qualify. I am athletic as far as going to the gym etc. but I am not in an official sport or never did a marathon. It may be a future goal now though! Thanks again!
JerryJan11, January 7, 2020 9:18pm EST
You don't have to be a hard-core athlete to be on that Cardiac Athlete site. The good thing about it is the amount of stories you read on there, scenarios, information about meds, etc. The bad thing is it it's a little overwhelming. I had to tap out after a while because it was a constant reminder about everything. But it's a lot easier to get answers and opinions from others who have had cardiac events. It will also introduce you to a bunch of people who ended up in a much, much worse situation than you did. I didn't even talk about my heart attack for a full month after because I was kind of embarrassed honestly. Wonder if you felt that way? My wife outed me and forced me to talk about it, which helped.
One tip on the LifeVest: Use non-aloe lotion on the metal paddles and they will stick easier and not go off occasionally. Man, that thing was a pain in the ass. I got in a huge fight with my wife because I wouldn't wear it to sleep after the first few weeks! I have 2 teenage daughters and they were all over me about wearing it all the time.
Best of luck, and seriously call me if you want to talk sometime. It might help!
Lisad2, January 9, 2020 8:23pm EST
Sorry for the delay in responding. It has been a busy few days. The vest is a pain! I know it can save my life so I wear it as I should but I had a few false alarms that scared the wits out of me. It seems to act up when its cold. Not to mention getting woke up in the middle of the night to all the pings. I am trying the lotion and so far so good. (fingers crossed). I also found myself to be embarrassed. My husband got upset with me a few weeks ago when I ran into an old coworker while shopping and didnt mention to her what happened. I have a hard time bringing it up in that type of situation. This is something I need to work on. My goal is to make other people aware that if a family member has heart disease they should talk to thier doctor about testing to check for blockages etc. This should not be a "silent killer" when testing and education is available.
Thank you again for everything. You have been so helpful.
JerryJan11, January 10, 2020 7:30pm EST
Ha! I have some good stories about the LifeVest. I got into the habit of just taking the battery out quietly when I was in a situation I was worried it might go off (walking on the treadmill in rehab, a movie, or in a meeting). Everyone was happy that way...the vest was still on for appearances. I didn't' have to worry about it going off. If you call the LifeVest monitoring service when it goes off, they will probably talk about "artifact," which is a fancy way of saying bogus alarm. It happened too many times and I became confident I wasn't going to die. The lotion should help you though. I still haven't my wife Christi how often I took the battery out!
I was embarrassed because I felt like people were looking at me and thinking "what's wrong with him? He must not be taking care of himself?" And I was super pissed because I watched people eating fast food 2x per day and donuts for breakfast, way overweight, and I was the having a heart attack!? I was embarrassed and angry.
I've changed so much in the last year (tomorrow is my 1-year anniversary). My advice to you, Lisa, is you are entitled to feel the way you feel and no one can/should judge you for it. If you don't want to talk about it, don't. If you feel like taking a nap in the middle of the day, do it. Not many people can relate to what you've been through so no one should judge you. If they do, then...well, whatever. Remember, 20% of heart attack victims have another heart attack within 5 years (no lie, google it). They are the dumb people who don't make life changes. Like me, this wasnt your fault, but you have to make significant life changes to ensure your health. It isn't fair. It's all hard to accept, you know? There's also a high % of HA victims who get counseling because they can't move on. I'm sure they will talk about that with you in cardiac rehab.
I'm rambling here, but it's nice to vent honestly. If you have sisters/brothers, send them for calcium scoring now. It's cheap and fast and will detect plaque in the heart. My 2 brothers are both on cholesterol meds as a result.
Keep on talking, OK? I'm glad to help and it helps me to validate some weird emotions I've had since it all happened!