I would really appreciate anyone's shared experience of a similar condition to my own. I had a heart attack 6 weeks ago - no prior warning signs at all and only 46. Angiogram revealed major blockages in LAD and less significant problems with RCA. Had 4 drug eluting stents inserted in LAD a week ago - one for a 99% stenosis and three other 75% narrowings. I am aware the LAD is known as the widowmaker and am concerned for obvious reasons about likeliehood of restenosis occurring and how would I know - especially as I had no angina or other warning signals before the MI. My cardiologist suggested that next time (I hope there isn't a next time for a long time if at all!) they would graft rather than stent. Anybody have a similar story to mine?
I had a LAD MI at age 47. But that was in the days when even artery grafts were still fairly rare. I spent seven years following the MI having almost continuous angina.
But after that 7 years, my cardiologist was insistent that I have CAGB. I had six bypasses, recovered fairly quickly and discovered that my angina was gone. I could walk long distances without distress. The surgery was 28 years ago, and a recent arteriogram showed the bypasses still functioning.
I had some symptoms before the MI: Some angina when I rode a bicycle uphill; a tiredness that felt bone deep and wouldn't go away about 2 weeks before the incident, and finally a severe left shoulder pain that was with me for about a week before the actual heart attack.
If I were you, I'd head for the cardiologist if you begin to get angina on exercise or unstable angina (angina at rest).
Do you know your ejection fraction? Mine went to about 35 - 40% and stayed in that range until recently, when it descended to 25%. Doc insisted on an ICD last year because of the low EF.
I have no experience with stents. I guess my message is more that bypass surgery can be a long lasting life saver if it comes to that.
Hi! I had an LAD drug eluting stent two and a half years ago, no prior warning either. I don't think many people have symptoms, in fact the first symptom of heart disease is often the first attack! I assume you're on Plavix as well as the usual meds? The first year I was a bag of nerves, expecting to keel over any minute, it gets easier as time goes on and your confidence increases. Re-hab is a good idea, you get to push yourself while being monitored and under supervision so you feel safer. I still worry about re-stenosis but I've got philosophical, I figure I have no more chance of having a sudden heart attack then any other person walking around, otherwise I'd drive myself crazy. Plavix and aspirin keeps the blood flowing, the problems start if you stop the thinners, so keep taking your medication and all should be well!
Many thanks for sharing your experiences with me. It really helps to hear of others who have been through similar experiences. You are absolutely right about the confidence thing - knocked for six at the moment, but I'm sure this will improve with time. I am on plavix and aspirin (for life) and all the other usual meds. My cholesterol level (which wasn't high in the first place) reacted dramatically to simvastatin - going down to 2.6 - my GP says this is too low and wants it somewhere between 3 and 4! He's reduced the statin from 40mg to 20mg, frankly I'd prefer a few fry ups! Starting cardiac rehab next week - twice a week for 12 weeks - I guess you had the same? Hoping and expecting this to make a big difference.
Thanks again for your message
Hi again! I didn't do rehab, mainly because it was just a load of old boys, bless 'em, nobody under 70 at the time, no place for a lady! ;-) But I did get my bike out! One tip, watch out for muscle pain, the statins can cause quite nasty cramps and leg pains, all the drugs have side effects so don't panic, any weird symptoms you get google your drugs and see if they're the problem, it took a lot of juggling to get mine right. I was given omerprazole to take with my plavix, not good, research says it stops the plavix from working properly so I stopped. Do lots of digging around and research, our GP's are lazy, they don't keep up to date with developments. The main thing is to get control back, it's weird how vulnerable we are after a heart attack and we just do what we're told and chuck the pills down our necks, you're too young, lots of years left for you so if the beta-blockers (if you're on them) make you feel totally exhausted get them changed, they always dish out the cheapest drugs like atenelol first, by the way beta blockers kill your sex drive!
Don't rush, take it one day at a time and believe me, you'll feel normal again eventually, never the same though, it's scary stuff shaking hands with the grim reaper isn't it? Good luck with the rehab, hope you find guys in your age group! Ella
My first rehab session is tomorrow - I'm perfectly prepared to give it a go, but I fully expect the average age to be rather greater than mine (I'm 46), so we'll see how it goes. I have quite a lot of confidence in my GP - he has reduced my Atenelol to 25mg from 50 as My heart was beating too slowly, and jumped straight on the case with the cholesterol thing. He hasn't titrated me up to the full 10mg ramipril as my blood pressure is pretty low. Definitely don't feel physically at my most magnificent at the moment (no doubt partly thanks to the meds) - but considerably better dead than alive! You seem to have a very good take on the whole thing and thanks for all your words of wisdom - its a bugger what life serves up sometimes, but I'm trying to remain philosophical. Acceptance seems to be the key, allied to positive attitude.
Stay well Ella.
Had a widowmaker Nov 24, 2009. I have a family history. I lost my father when he was barely 49. Because of him, I exercised 5 times a week and ate right for 32 years. I passed the age of 49 without a hitch, so I thought I did it, I prevented history from repeating itself. Then the day before thanksgiving 2009 it hit. Not a clue until that mid morning, when I felt tightness in my chest, I knew something was not right. I woke up 2 weeks later from a coma. So much more details I wont go into , my wife cant even talk about even 7 months later. I had only one stent but due to many complications I remained in the hospital for over a month. I couldnt even stand or walk. I have been in a cardio rehab program 26 sessions and 10 more to go. I wish it would never end. I highly reccommend cardio rehab to anyone with a heart condition. Taking lipitor,ramapril,coreg,effient and 81mg aspirin about 10 pills a day. Along with rehab and medication, now introducing an improved diet, medditeranean heart diet. Its interesting and offers many enjoyable foods and recipies. My frustration is with my injection fracture rate of 39%. This scares me every day, and prevents me from letting go and pushing too hard. I am a little scared but happy to be alive. I will continue to exercise and diet so that I can be there for my wife and my 3 children 18,15 and 7...My job is not done and I will do everything I can to be here for them them for a long time.... hang in there Johnny stay positive......
Hi, your post definitely caught my eye! My husb is also 46 and just had 4 stents put in the LAD after a heart attack this past Tues. He was having chest pains and I took him to the e/r. The heart cath showed he had a 100% blockage in the LAD. He had no prior heart problems other than high blood pressure and high cholestrol-both already being treated with meds. His mother and father both died of heart attacks though. He had the heart attack and the stents put in on Tues, was released from the hosp Wed. He told me he was having chest pains again on Thurs. so I took him back to the e/r. They said it was not another heart attack, probably just inflammation from the stents causing pain. They monitored him closely, checking blood enzymes and they did not indicate anything worrysome. He was released today and has pretty much slept all day. I am worried this is going to happen again...
Your husbands story sounds very much like my own. If I can offer any reassurance, I would simply say that it is now well over a year since my MI and angioplasty and I am as fit as I have ever been, free from symptoms, positive and happy! I found the cardiac rehab programme on which I enrolled an extremely positive experience - I was given a personalised exercise programme which became increasingly rigorous and before long was able to confidently jog on a treadmill, cycle hard on an exercise bike, use a rowing machine etc in the gym. I emphasise the word "confidently" as initially I was very anxious about pushing myself (for fear of the consequences), but as time has passed and I have grown fitter and stronger; these fears have largely subsided. I would not for a moment minimise the life changing nature of what I (and your husband) have been through, and it is something that we and those closest to us will always always have to live with. However time, interventional treatment, medication (and exercise) are wonderful healers and your confidence and that of your husband WILL improve I promise.
Thank you so much. He starts cardiac rehab this week and is looking forward to it. He went back to work today and did great, just really tired when he got home. His attitude is excellent and I know that goes a long way towards recovery. Take care!
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Hi, I can understand about your anxiety following the stenting procedure. I had a single stent placed in my LAD in January 2010 following diagnosis of a 100% occlusion in the artery late 2009.
I was 50 and had ongoing angina symptoms for several months leading up to a stress test and angiogram which gave the diagnosis.
I was told I had been very lucky as I had developed collateral blood vessels which had been helping with the function of the LAD and which prevented me taking a heart attack. I was then fortunate again that the cardiologist managed to push through the occlusion and insert the drug eluting stent into place. The angina pains ceased from that day and I have felt great although the psychological gravity of "what might have been" did get to me for quite a few months afterwards.
Since then, I have been on daily low dose aspirin, clopidogrel, simvastatin, atenolol and azathioprin.
I did not attend any sort of rehab or group treatment afterwards but I guess as the time passes you sort of face up to the idea of your mortality and accept it and then just get on with your life.
I have a follow up appointment with my cardiologist in August where I'm hoping to come off or reduce the atenolol as my heart beat rate is quite low and blood pressure is fine.
I'm sure as your confidence grows you will become less self aware of having had the procedure and enjoy your new lease of life.
I had a widow maker last may, 2010. I know you have to keep positive. I just got some good news as my effectative hard went from a 22 to 33 % since may. Yet i also found out that most of the damage was becuase a doc did not even try to call the heart centre to see if they could take me. I could of been air lifted and had the stent in with in the 6 hour limit. He left me there for 15 hours and than sent me. The receiving doctor said why am i putting a stent into there as the damage is done. So i get really depressed at times I am 46 with a 9 year old who I can not play with ..... etc all because someone could not pick up phone and check
Last edited by bruce ramsay; 03-01-2011 at 05:16 AM.
Reason: error in message
I had undiagnosed chest pains for over 9 years before I had a "widow-maker" event; but I only had 3 stents in the lad, all contiguous. Since the attack (7 years ago) I have had several nuclear stress tests and the damaged part of my heart hasn't grown. There is no sign of restenosis either. Of course I take Plavix for life, 2 blood pressure pills, and Crestor (max dose).
Now I have very few angina pains, have considerable energy, and am less prone to worry about it all.
Oh yeah. Massive heart attack August 2010. 100% sudden blockage of LAD. No previous symptoms. Had I not been 1 mile from a hospital with a first rate cardiac cath unit I wouldn't be typing this message. Had two stents placed within 51 minutes of arriving at the hospital. Now taking Plavix, crestor, lisinopril, metroplol and aspirin. Recovery hints:
1. DO EXCERCISE
2. CHANGE YOUR DIET
3. TAKE THE FRIGGIN PALVIX EVEN THOUGH YOU BLEED ALL THE TIME.
This event will change your whole outlook and perspective on life.