IAMA 36/M who last year suffered a left anterior descending artery complete occlusion. This is the same type of heart attack Kevin Smith had aka 'The Widow Maker'. I've just had a personal cardiac defibrillator surgically implanted. AMA
Proof sent to mods
At the age of 35 I had a large heart attack while working out at the gym. I drove myself to hospital (where I work) and had an emergency stent inserted within one hour. I was lucky to survive. Unfortuately, despite being seen so quickly, I was left with severe left ventricular heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. As a result I am at risk of developing a life treatening arrhythmia and my consultant recommended I have an ICD inserted. Last week I had surgery and am now recovering at home.
AMA about the heart attack, surgery, living with a chronic illness or having your life course altered by a medical problem
Edit - seems to be slowing down. I'll call an end to it now, but I'll check back in tomorrow and answer further questions. Thanks, it's been good. Hopefully someone will go get their bloods checked as a result of this or talk to their family about their family history/risk
It started with a fast heart rate and breathing - both I put down to the exercise. Then I became 'anxious' and had a funny stomach feeling, so I left the gym, had a shower and drove to work . In the car I had the classic - heavy feeling on the chest, unable to breath, dizzy, sweating, thought I was going to pass out. I arrived in work and the nurses took one look at me and went straight into action.
Do you know what caused the heart attack? Were you taking any pre-workout supplements at the time?
No supplements, but that was one of the first things the doctors asked. Apparently they see a trend of young men having attacks due to the things they take to improve performance
As for cause, no one can pinpoint one cause but many. In order of importance - genetics, stress, diet, smoking status (ex-smoker with occasional relapse), weight
How much did you weigh?
Did you have the classic signs of a heart attack- chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea- and did you recognize them because you’re (presumably) a trained medical professional that works at a hospital? Or were the symptoms just so obvious and overwhelming that you knew it couldn’t be anything else? I swear, after my medical training, I feel like any minor body signal means the worst- probably doesn’t help that I work in the ER. Best of luck in your recovery!
I got all the classic symtpoms eventually, but it started as an 'anxiety attack'. I thought this was the case becase I had been seeing a therapist and was expecting a 'breakdown' at some point. I work in a medical related field so the symptoms made sense afterwards, but I didn't believe it until I was in the cath lab having the stent put in.
As someone who has had anxiety attacks I often am heightened by the fact that I think I’m having a heart attack. What specific distinction can you offer me that made you know that it was indeed a heart attack and not an anxiety episode?
The look in the doctor and nurses faces? Seriously I hoped it was a anxiety attack but really once the chest pain started I knew I needed help. So pain is the one sign I think
What was your personal health like before the attack? You said it happened at the gym, I would imagine you were fairly healthy then?
My lifestyle wasn't good as a young adult. I wasn't the worst in the world, but until 25 year old I was overweight boarding obese, I smoked, I binge drank and I experimented with drugs (I wasn't addicted, nor a frequent user, but I did try a range of drugs a handful of times
Since 25 I lost a bunch of weight, took up running, hiking and the gym, tried to deal with stress and became a social smoker. I had made enough progress that it was commonly remarked upon by friends and family, but I wasn't perfect
Damn that's crazy? I guess the rapid change of lifestyle could have been one of the causes.
I made the changes slowly. In another reply I gave the reasons why I had it, genetics plays a huge part. My arterial plaque is prone to rupture, sucks!
How were your cholesterol levels?
How will this change your day to day routine going forward?
The device won't have a huge impact on my day to day life. I was given a bunch of advice and warnings - don't stand near shop security systems. I can't drive a lorry or large bus. I can't scubadive anymore, I shouldn't spend time around large electromagnets. But mostly, appart from hitting a button on a device to 'read' the defib every 3 months, I won't change ty life too much. The idea is this is a safety net to allow me to lead a normal life
As for my heart attack I need to be careful with my lifestyle choices. What I eat, exercise, drink and drug use... I need to develop good lifestyle habits. Also I'm on a range of medication for life
35 male here whose dad died at 50 of this kind of heart attack. Your post terrifies the shit out of me, but onto my question...
Do you drink caffeine or any kind of energy drink? I recently dropped from 260 to 210, but I still drink coffee and no-calorie energy drinks. I know I shouldn't but hey, we're only human.
Just wondering if the doctor had anything to say about caffeine intake in regards to your attack?
Yes I have one coffee a day - strong, homemade if possible. No energy drinks, never have. The dieticain gave good clear advice. Sugar and trans-fats are not good for us. She said coffee was fine, everything in moderation.
How was your fitness before your heart attack? Were you hitting the gym for physical appearance or to lose weight? What exact exercise were you doing when it triggered?
I wish you a speedy recovery and hope all is well!
I was going to the gym for health reason. I had lost a bunch of weight and had a bit more to go (about 5kg). I liked the stress relief of the gym. I was on a strength and conditioning programme focused on the three big lifts (bench, squat, deadlift). That day I was doing squats with about 60% of my 1RM for 12 reps, 5 sets. It was early morning and I was likely dehydrated - this may have impacted on the plaque rupturing in my artery. My base fitness was okay - I could ~~run~~ plod a half marathon, I hiked in Nepal ...
Were/are you a heavy smoker or did you have any other obvious "oh shit that causes heart attacks" reflections on your lifestyle before the attack?
I smoked 10 a day from 15-25 years old. I did a few things wrong - binge drank every few weeks, liked takeout food too much. I had made significant changes 10 years prior to my heart attack though
Wow man! Glad you are still with us. I don't have a specific question but I need all the wisdom you can pass me at this point. And maybe I have some wisdom I can share in return.
I'm male and I just turned 38 a few weeks ago, and I have definitely had a life altering diagnosis recently that I'm still coming to grips with. Prior to my 38th birthday I was diagnosed with severe heart disease. I took a CTIT that said my LAD was 70% blocked. I followed up with a stress test which showed "mild abnormalities" in my right coronary artery but didn't see anything in my LAD. I have been seeing all kinds of doctors and reading a bunch on nutrition trying to science the shit out of this thing. If you ever want someone to talk to or to compare notes with, I am happy to start communicating with you. I would love to hear more details about your life and lifestyle leading up to this. If you are comfortable sharing. I haven't had a chance to read this AMA yet and I am about to walk out the door for awhile but I plan to read every last thing that you write.
As for me. I found out, funny enough, by losing weight. I saw a Kevin Smith interview where he talks about his heart attack and it literally made me scared to the point of being sweaty and nauseous bc I felt like I had experienced in the past, symptoms similar to what he was describing. So I got on a diet and lost 45 lbs. I went to have a physical done with the hopes of a thumbs up and a pat on the back but I got the opposite. I had a CIMT test done in office which showed I had the heart of a 65 year old man, according to my doctor. From there I was sent for a CTIT(which confirmed I had the heart of a 65 year old man) and from there a stress test and next week I have an appointment to be catheterized.
So as a result of all of this I have lost another 30lbs. I have lost 75 lbs since May 15th of this year and I am completely switching the way I eat. I have been on whole30 since May 15 but switched to a Mediterranean diet after my diagnosis. As soon as I switched, I started gaining weight. I have since switched back to whole30 and I am trying to move into plant based nutrition. I have not had any animal products in almost a month which is really a big deal for me as I used to eat anything I wanted without thinking about it.
I am so sorry that you had to go through this and I am so grateful you are still here. Are you currently comfortable? Is there anything that you are lacking, need, or want at the moment?
Thanks for your post and kind words. I'm good at the moment
I probably haven't changed my lifestyle enough - need to get on that whole 30 diet too. Get on top of stress too, that's the biggest change I've made. Good luck with your procedure - glad you found out before the time bomb went off. Let me know how you get on, good luck
It's amazing you were able to drive yourself to hospital after such a massive heart attack! Did you have any episodes of angina before this? Any family history of heart problems? What is your current "action plan" for your future health, besides the ICD?
No episodes of angina - which is common in a young heart attack. Its not about a slow build p of plaque to block the artery rather a sudden rupturing of the plaque to block the artery. That was me - my arteries were clear apprt from the big blockage/clot.
Grandfather had a heart attack in thihis 30s too.
Action plan is to be heathly! Eat right, oilly fish, good veg and fruit etc. Limit my bad days, exercise. Pomegranet juice (my wifes idea) will feature heavily I think
What has the doctor said about your future holding health wise? What symptoms did you experience? I saw in another post you said you had no signs of angina being a young man.
From realizing you needed to go to the hospital and getting your pacemaker in, what was the process?
I'm currently a paramedic student in the middle of advance cardiac life support at the moment so this is fascinating and relevant to my schooling.
Furture is an unknown - but they hope I'll have several decades of reasonable healthy living, hense why they put the defib in. BTW it's not a pacemaker - it only does towothings - shock or not
Symptoms described above
Process of my heart atack was - onset of symtoms, blue lights to A+E, stent inserted in 1 hour, hspital for 5 days - started on secondary prevention medication. Then lots of monitoring for 1 year including a cardiac MRI and echocardiograms. Decision made to put the defib in based on my MRI scan - large scar on the front of my heart, severe LV dysfunction, ejection fraction about 38%
Just want to say I'm sorry this happened to you. You sound like someone whose pretty active and I'm guessing the condition is gonna put a damper on that.
I suffer from a degenerative heart disease myself and have an AICD for about 12-13 years (got a change in 2012, yea the battery runs out). I never experienced a first attack and my condition was found out through a normal body check up, which wasn't much of a surprise because both my siblings had it. I did get shock a few times though and it sucks. When you feel something 'rolling' around your chest area, find somewhere and sit down. Take care to not get too breathless. Also, apparently having fever would cause some issues too, so keep yourself healthy!
Thanks for the advice, good liuck
BTW it's not a pacemaker - it only does towothings - shock or not
That's weird. Most modern ICDs will pace if needed.
Not the subcutaneous ones. They are less invasive and have lower complications. The lead doesn't sit inside the heart, but rather under the skin. It can't pace the heart
Is there anything you could have done to predict such a thing (like doctor's visits, tests, etc)?
Short of having an angiogram for screening - no. I had seen my doctor recently and my bloods were normal, had a chest xray and it was normal. My doctor is of the opinion that good lifestyle and normal check-ups are enough, but that won't catch everyone
Do you know if there are any kinds of tests/screening that can be done to try and catch this kind of thing before it happens?
I am not OP and I am not a doctor, im just a sick guy, but yes tests and screenings. I am 38 and I just caught the early warning signs that I am very sick and didn't know it. Start with your blood work but from there ask your doctor for what is called a CIMT, a carotid Inter-media thickness test. This is like an ultrasound for your carotid artery, it shows the plaque buildup in your arteries. Your doctor can tell you if you need further testing based off of those results. After my CIMT showed that I had the heart of a 65 year old man as a 38 year old, my doctor sent me for another test called an "Advanced Heart Check" which was basically a Cat scan of my heart with contrast. After the results of that showed that I had significant heart disease, I was sent in for a stress test. The next step for me is a heart catheterization which will give me the most accurate pictures and information as to what is actually going on in my heart. From there I can take further preventive measures depending on the results. In the mean time I have been studying nutrition and switched to a plant based diet.
They don't do that level of screening in my country
Unfortunately not, just normal blood tests for lipid profile, blood count etc, good lifestyle choices and knowledge of your family history
What kind of symptoms caused you to suspect a heart attack? was it a super overwhelming pain or essentially an uncomfortable feeling? I've been struggling with pericarditis and every little pain or discomfort in my chest i have from that immediately scares me that something worse is going on.
Anxiety type symptoms leading to uncomfortable pain leading to crushing central chest pain
How has your life been past the attack, has it been just as alright as before or are there definitely differences now?
Definately different. I'm more tired and went from needing 7 hours sleep to 8 minimum. My heart isn't as strong - I don't have the same 'go', it feels like the accelerator is faulty. I get breathless more while exercising, someties to the point where I stuggle to talk on a hike, didn't hapen before. I need my recovery time more and a few days of busy work in a row and I'm really tired. Fatigue - biggest single symptoms I have
I wish you all the best man, and hope things can get better for you one day.
I just have one question, for a young man like myself (I'm 20), what's the best piece of advice you could offer to at least avoid this situation, or make it less of a threat?
Good lifestyle choices and stress relief. Talk to your parents about your family history and take action
I wish you a long and healthy life. I work for a company that makes ICD’s, May I ask what ICD you had implanted? How long was the surgery and do you have a slight protrusion if the device underneath your skin?
First question about the device! It's made by bostan scientific, subcutaneous ICD-
Surgery was 45 minutes from first incision to close, the surgeon was proud of that! That's the quickest they have done. The person before me took 2 hours by the same team
What is occlusion and how does your attack differ from the average heart attack?
Occulsion is the medical term for blockage - in my case a complete blockage of the vessel that supplies the main pumping chamber of the heart. It's dangerous because the artery that was blocked is the biggest supplier of blood to the front of the heart. In other heart attacks the blood supply goes from a flow to a trickle over a number of months/years. Mine went from a normal flow to nothing in a second
Thats quite fascinating for you to build up that much occlusion in your LAD at 35 even if you are genetically susceptible. What was your diet like before this event? Were you on any particular low carb diet, high in proteins, and saturated fats? If so, how long were you on this diet? Do you mind sharing your serum cholesterol labs?
My levels were normal, I don't have the exact figures, but multiple medics have been surprised by my blood results. No particular diet, typical western meat eater I suppose. I think the first sentence is wrong, I didn't build up to that level of occulsion, I had plaque, which we all do, and it ruptured and the resulting clot blocked the artery
I didn't believe it until I was in the cath lab having the stent put in.
This is from another reply you posted. This implies to me that you were awake? How much of the procedure were you awake for? What did they actually do? I'm imagining them cracking open your chest and working on your heart, but I'm sure that's not the reality.
Cardiac cath are done under “conscious sedation,” and is not open heart surgery. It is done by threading a small tube (catheter) through either the radial or femoral artery up to the heart arteries and a stent is deployed through that. Usually the patient is sedated with midazolam and fentanyl (short acting benzo and opioid) and will be able to answer questions and follow commands but will be pretty sleepy, shouldn’t feel pain, and won’t remember much. The whole procedure usually lasts less than an hour.
Open heart surgery is an entirely different beast. Those patients are under full anesthesia with ventilator and sometimes bypass machine.
Describes it well, although just morphine and diazepam for me. The surgeon had to tell me to stop trying to look at the monitor because it was making it harder to thread the cath. Hard not to want to look at a picture of your beating heart on screen
The stent was put into the artery though a blood vessel in my wrist, that opens the artery and returns the blood supply. For the defib that was a normal surgery, full theatre team. No chest cracking though, thankfully
have you checked your lp(a) ? thats lipoprotein(a). i also have a defib and had ventricular fibrillation. Also young. It seems sky high levels of lp(a) were a cause. have you had any afib? Pvcs?
No rythmn issues as yet thankfully. My lipid profile is normal and had been prior to the event. As were my blood sugars and longer term signs of heart disease and other contributing diseases
What was your ldl/hdl prior?
Several people have asked and I don't have the exact figures in front of me (we don't get copies of our medical reports in my country). They were 'normal' before and now they are at the lower end of normal - any lower and my doc will have to adgust my statin. The profile was good too - I had textbook blood results beforehand
Are you going to adopt a plant-based diet?
No, I'll have a varied diet based on fruit and veg but will retain meat and fish
I'm curious about how this event impacted your personal philosophy. Did it feel like a brush with death? Has it had an impact on your existential philosophy? Your perspective of life? Your personal relationships?
Some people have a close call and they feel burdened by it. Like it's suddenly 'real'. Some people have a close call and feel released by it. Like they suddenly realize what matters most.
How has this event impacted you on a personal level?
Thank you, a question that isn't about lipids!
Definately felt like a brush with death and altered my self identity. I'm less prone to care what others think. I don't care about my career as much (although this creeps back in from time to time). I'm keen to explore my artistic side (for which I never did) and took up a craft as a hobby which I'm started to turn into a small business. Eventually I'll have a part time career and a part time craft business. I definately feel a release from pressure that I had place on myself. Success and a good life looks different now. I am more angry at times about issues that face the younger workers of our society - housing, pensions, wages and cost of living. I feel like I worked hard and played the game, but I might not get to see retirement so I want to get my rewards sooner
I want to congratulate you on making lifestyle changes. A stent is such an easy and quick procedure nowadays, many patients don't take it seriously.
I had my first LAD ("Widowmaker") blockage and heart attack at 29. Now, at 39, my cholesterol is almost 400 and my triglycerides are 996. The cath lab was so brief and I was home the next day, so it never really felt important or serious, and I didn't make any real changes. Now, with ischemia and reduced ejection, I wish I had done something 10 years ago like I should have.
Glad you aren't as dumb.
Do you have a plan and a support system in place to make sure you stick to your changes? Being accountable to someone can be a huge part of success.
My wife holds me to account but we've had a rocky time - she had to live away for work for 18months, almost at the start of my illness. Next month we finally get to live together again with no plans to repeat the long distance thing - our careers are pretty settled now. So I'm definately better when she is around.
Good luck with your journey
You mentioned that your ICD shocks but does not pace. How was the type of ICD you received chosen?
For others in the thread, I've seen several people mention they also have an ICD. If you are okay with sharing, what was the cause for you to get one? I don't have one but my son does and he always wants to hear why other people have one.
I don't have an arrhythmia, never have, just a risk of about 2% per year of developing one. Nor do I have a slow heart rate. As my device is a precaution they went with the least risky option regarding complications. That is this option with the lead being placed external to the heart rather than into the chambers. Also if my condition changes they can always change it for the duel device. Hope this answers the question
I'm so glad you knew the warning signs and were happy to get help, truly. With my dad, he also had the widow maker, but he was in the hospital and they said he was dead before he hit the pillow.
With this, how different do you feel after, after the surgery? Is there a higher risk of a future heart attack, maybe not a widows maker?
The device doesn't make any difference to my underlying heart function or symptoms. They said that a few times, I suppose to make sure I knew I wouldn't be feeling better as a result of the device.
I have known heart disease, so yeah, I suppose the risk of future heart attacks is present, although no one would quantify that risk for me
Do your friends occasional Taze you just to see your defib kick in?
'Shut up or I'll throw magnets at you' is a common roast
What is your ejection fraction rate, after my heart attack it was 23 and they placed a left venterxal assit device (LVAD]in my chest while I wait for a new heart.
Was there any talk of needing an LVAD?
Sorry to hear that, I'm luckly in some ways. It was 28-30% afterwards and went up to 35% after 1 year. I am far from needing that kind of therapy. My heart failure is well controlled at present, very stable on the medication. I take two diuretics, blood pressure and heart rate control, anti lipid medication. What's your experence been? Good luck - hope you get a new heart soon.
How were and are your lipids etc.? Are you on the typical regimen of drugs? I had my "Widow Maker" 3 years ago at 52, ignored it for days, but was very lucky. All the best to you.
My lipids are and were good. My doctor says they are the lowest he's seen in a while and any lower they need to change my meds. Yes normal regimen of meds - diuretic, beta blocker, statin, blood pressure meds
When it happened what were the symptoms for you? I always hear people have different symptoms.
Anxiety feeling, followed by full blown crushing chest pain and breathlessness - fairly classic
You were still able to drive after this though? I worry about that I won’t recognize the symptoms. I have a hole in my heart which puts me at a greater risk. A month ago I had horrid chest pain but no breathlessness and drove myself to er. Turns out it was a rib that was out of place which was good. So the breathlessness was it bad that you had trouble breathing?
Once it fully kicked in I knew something was wrong. Dude in the bed next to me in hospital was the same. Crushing chest pain like nothing I've felt before
Had you regularly checked you blood pressure? was there any signs leading up to it? I'm 39 my father passed away at 49 from heart attack and its frequently on my mind.
I work in a hospital so checked my BP regularly. Had some muscle pains after working out so recently had a few labs done - all normal. Sorry, no magic tests to screen (in my country anyway)
Is there something you wish you knew before having the hearth attack?
I didn't know ym family history well - my parents didn't talk about it. So I wish I knew my grandfather had the same issues in his 30s. Although I'm not sure if I#d have changed my lifestyle on such information
I'm scheduled to receive an ICD next month. I'm both happy to get it but also a little nervous. How is your recovery? Are you having any pain? What are your restrictions?
I wish you the best and a long healthy future.
Recovery was quick - up and active after 4 hours, I walked the corridors and did 'pendular shoulder movements' to aid in recovery. No heavy lifting for 4 weeks, no driving for 4 weeks (no work for me!). No lifting arm above shoulder height for same time.
Definately more pain than I expected, take your pain relief! Settled within 72 hours to managable levels.
Good luck - you'll be grand!
I have an ICD too and was nervous as hell before getting it.
Very little pain during the procedure, it's more uncomfortable than anything. In fact the worst pain was when they were injecting the site with local anesthetic, which shows you how little pain the actual procedure causes. I didn't even feel the surgeon making the incision. Took maybe 40-60 mins for the whole thing.
Unlike OP, I didn't really get much pain afterwards and didn't bother with pain relief. That could be down to having a pretty high pain threshold because of also having cluster headaches.
As it's healing the scar will most likely itch like crazy, annoying but not the end of the world. I#m 1yr post op and the scar is barely visible. Don't be worried at how big the lump is, after a few weeks the swelling will go right down and the lump will be barely noticeable.
To be honest the worst part was having to lie flat for 4hrs. The Dr had also given me a diuretic injection, so I was (to use a local phrase) pissing like a shire horse, and since I couldn't see or stretch to reach - the nurse had to 'help' me into one of those cardboard urine bottles. More embarrassing than anything else, mainly because the nurse was a family friend. lol.
The procedure is much less scary than you think. I think it's amazing how many procedures can now be carried out with the patient fully conscious and feeling very little discomfort. IAs a comparison, you've had an angiogram or angioplasty - it's less painful and less uncomfortable than that.
Good luck with the surgery!
I had a different device inserted, my one sits between muscles in my chest. I needed to be put to sleep for the procedure and it involves different incisions. They told me that I'd be sore afterwards compared to the other device. I opted for it because it has a lower complication rate
Ouch, certainly does sound like it could be more painful. Mine was inserted in a pocket they made under the skin.
General anesthetic is dangerous for me which is probably why I wasn't offered that option.
How will they deal with battery replacement? Mine will have to be completely replaced every 5-7 years, which I imaging will be easier being subcutaneous.
Average 8 years for this device, but it's another surgery unfortunately
I'm looking forward to the time they can safely incorporate wireless charging.
Never though of this - sign me up!
what's it feel like when the defibrillator kicks on?
my uncle had an early generation one and apparently it had a bit of oomph - if he pushed it too hard he'd sort of 'erk' and twitch and gag for a moment. he took it as the signal to sit down for a while.
Luckily it's only kicked in once - in surgery when they tested it and I was out cold. I hear it's like getting kicked in the chest. Not a nice thought
oof. my uncle's was internal, still seemed rough but holy crap.
you have to plug in every night? seems inconvenient but maybe a little better than plutonium.
I've got a reader that stays by the bedside, reads the data from the device with Bluetooth, then sends any data to the hospital if required. The battery in my device will get changed approx. 8 years, unfortunately by surgery
Were you having any symptoms leading up to this in the days or weeks prior, or did it come on sudden? Did you ever have a stress test done or echocardiogram prior to this incident?
No, I was very healthy and had no reason to suppect I'd be having a heart attack. My doctors don't think they would have know either with routine tests
Considering your reduced ejection fraction was the device they gave you bi-ventricular?
No, as I dont have an arrhythmia at present, just a 2-5% risk of developing one, it's a preventative procedure andthey opted for the less invasive subcutaneous device which has no pacing element
As you are now part man and part machine, do you plan to become a superhero or a ruthless cyborg overlord?
My weakness is electromagnets. Don't tell my enemies
You were/are so young for such an occlusion regardless of lifestyle. Did doctors give you any indication whether you had some sort of predisposition? I've heard of some factors that can lead to heart disease prematurely. The one I'm familiar with is hyperhomocysteinemia (elevated homocysteine).
Yes, very young for lifestyle to be the main cause, I was likely a ticking time bomb! So genetics was the biggest factor. I have enroled in a research programme to look at my genes, but I'm just at the administration stage - still haven't had any tests or spoken to a genetics expert yet. The big genetic diseases were ruled out by my doctors, but I think that heart disease risks is spead over a number of genes and therefore harder to test for as compared to something like cystic fibrosis
How long did you have to avoid having sex/masturbating after the heart attack?
I think 2 weeks after the heart attack, but can't remember. I waited 4 days until after surgery, my wife was present and looked after me both times! It's weird but it is a scarey thought after such an event
As I imagine you are now working with a cardiologist, do you know more specifics about your lipoprotein abnormalities? Small dense LDL, lipoprotein (a), low HDL, etc? Blood sugar/diabetes status? Blood pressure? Any warning signs leading up to the actual ACS? Arrhythmias, angina, change in exercise tolerance? Thank you very much for doing this!
I joke that I'm the healthiest heart attack in my city. All my bloods, scans, vitals were normal. Yet I still had a heart attack. My lipid profile was normal (good in fact), BP was textbook, good exercise tolerance, my angio showed clear vessels except the large blockage! So the cardiologists trainee said that likely I had a piece of plaque that ruptured while working out (dehydrated and first thing in the morning are risks). My consultant cardiologists wouldn't give me a reason - they tend not to say why unless they know exactly and most heart attacks are multifactorial
That's scary, considering everyone has some plaque in their vascular system. We're all ticking time bombs.
And you said you had your arteries scanned and they all looked clear for the most part?
Yeah all my other vessels showed no signs of disease. The type of plaque matters, so some people have plaque that is more brittle and prone to rupture - hence why genetics plays a huge role
Thanks for sharing. Are there any tests for the genetic aspects? Or even tests for early warning... This is scary.....
No tests unfortunately. It is scarey, but very rare. They advise good lifestyle and normal precautions. If you've a strong family history then maybe take extra care - speak with your doctor. Genetics is being researched but is very complex for heart disease, there is not a single gene to target
Have your doctors talked about transplant? Young person like you would have several decades and I'm assuming relatively healthy (eg not terrible DM2, HTN, ,CKD, etc). From your posts, it doesn't sound like you are quite at the level of needing mechanical support such as an LVAD.
I'm not at the point of needing replacement at the moment - I can exercise, work full time, lead a pretty normal life. If my heart failure worsens then I'm sure I'd have to have a conversation about transplant - hopely not for a long time! We have talked about regenerative therapies - stem cells etc, but the research in human trails has been disappointing. Hopefully in the future they can help the scar tissue in my heart reform to healthy cardiac muscle
What model is your ICD?
How did you know that you were having a heart attack at the gym that day?
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