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Azartist, July 24,  2020  7:24pm EST

Major Heart Attack, Heart Failure, & Upcoming ICD

Hello, all! Fairly new guy here (59). I have been reading these posts from a distance since my heart attack in April, and very anxious about my condition lately, so I thought I'd speak up. Sorry in advance if I'm long-winded.

I was finishing up a Tai Chi class in a park the morning of Saturday, April 11, 2020, when I felt a pain in my chest. It got so bad within about 5 seconds that it dropped me to my knees. I had never had any sort of health problems before, but I knew immediately that I was having a heart attack. It felt like my heart was in a vice. Luckily, the park was right across the street from a hospital, so the paramedics were there within 10 minutes, and I was in ER within about 20. A stent was put in. I spent 3 days in the hospital. The cardiologist cam into my room on the second day and, after introducing himself, said "I have some bad news for you. You have heart failure". He said some other stuff that made no sense to me at the time, such as low EF rate and extensive damgage... I mostly just remember the words "heart failure". 

They sent me home with lots of meds and a Life Vest. They said that since I was "fairly young" that I should be able to improve my ejection fraction with a combinations of the drugs, good diet, and exercise. I was already in pretty decent shape, but I kicked it up into high gear, and scompletely changed my high-sodium diet into a very low-sodium, natural diet. After a few weeks, I felt great! It was a pain to lug this Life-Vest monitor everywhere, but I got used to it, and I told myself that it was only for 3 months. 

After 60 days, I had my second echocardiogram, followed by a meeting with my cardiologist. My EF improved very little, from 30 to 35. He said they were hoping for more improvement, so he set up an appt for a MUGA scan 30 days from then. I just got the results yesterday: EF of 34.

It's strange, because after feeling so good for a while, the past couple of weeks right after the MUGA scan have been a real struggle. I have not been able to go on walks, I get super winded doing just about anything, I passed out while putting on my socks, a little dazed and confused. 

The doctor has recommended an ICD, and I guess I am going to go along with it. Sorta freaking out about all of it. I can't seem to wrap my head around all that has happened, and why I seemed to go backwards. 

2 Replies
  • JamesPL
    JamesPL, July 26,  2020  4:10pm EST

    I don't think you're going backwards. You just haven't improved in the past 30 days. It does take time to get your EF up to the levels your cardiologist would like to see. It's important to do the things that your doctor has directed. Regarding exercise, did you go through a cardiac rehab program? I found that to be very helpful in getting me back on track with exercise. 

    Keep up the diet and exercise and you'll make improvement. It can be frustrating to your added anxiety is normal after having experienced what you did. But don't let that deter you from your ultimate goal.

    I wish you all the best in your recovery!


  • Azartist
    Azartist, July 27,  2020  6:49pm EST

    Thanks for your comments, Jim. I didn't go through a cardiac rehab program, but I did exercise daily, 3-6 miles walking daily. We asked the cardiologist about a rehab program, but he was concerned about me going to a gym-like setting during the pandemic. Hoping to participate in a rehab program someday once things are a little more back to normal.

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