AF Association
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What are the odds?

For the staticians amongst you. After a severe heart attack aged 45 I was given a less than 50% chance of surviving 5 years. Since then various and different consultants have put the odds of surviving each successive 5 year period at less than 50% for the last 25 years. Should I be encouraged that since I am still here I will continue to beat the odds until old age finally gets me? Or should I regard myself as having long entered negative survival territory and be lucky to finish this sentence .....?

15 Replies

I don't know Byonic but I certainly wouldn't bother asking your cardios 😊.

My brother was given weeks, that was 3 years ago 🤔. He went straight out and bought his dream fast sports car, now he's having to keep up the running costs.

Hope you go on for a longer yet.



Hi Byonic

I doubt that mathmatical statistics will help here, let's do some maths, if you were 45 25 years ago, then you are "over 65" now :) Now lets look at medical progress in the last 25 years.

Stents used to be open heart surgery, now they are inserted from the groin or wrist in day surgery, replacement heart valves have gone from "stone age" to "star trek" AF was considered "untreatable" and now we have different types of ablation and other treatments. Drugs have progressed massively and there is much much more.

How long are you going to live? No idea.

My recommendation? and I stole this of course...

“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,

Love like you'll never be hurt,

Sing like there's nobody listening,

And live like it's heaven on earth.”

Have a good day, and be well



Such a smoothie......but can't fault the logic!!


My son-in-law's grandmother had a severe heart attack at about 80. The hospital cardiologist told her that her heart was operating at only 30 percent, she had had a good long life and to prepare for the end. She died last year, two weeks before her 98th birthday. Poignantly, when clearing her chest of drawers, her daughter found letters and final Christmas cards written to the family at the time when she thought she was going to die any day.

So your story is also one of great encouragement to all - thank you!


Medical risk and survival are probably not helpful to think about too much. Ian's quotes are the best way forwards

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May you continue to beat the 'odds' and make every moment count!


Thanks everyone for your very different solutions to my longevity prospects. I think the "live for each day" approach is the best and leave the experts to continue to guess.


My uncle had the same prognosis after a heart attack aged 45. 48 Years later he is still here aged 93 as lively as a cricket, full of fun and life. He is completely sound in mind and looks twenty years younger so I think with similar odds to him and medicine being far more advanced now then when he had his heart attack, you are well placed for many more wonderful years. Enjoy.


Ian makes some good points and comments, especially regarding the advanced in medicine over the last 25 years. That alone makes a big difference. Furthermore it could also be the fact that some of the expected deterioration has not come to pass and especially if that was the case in the early years it enhances the chances of survival in subsequent years.

Another thing to remember is the saying the exception proves the rule!!!

At the end of the day statistics are a mixture of calculations, averages, extrapolations, data analysis, case analysis, etc. They will never be 100% accurate. If an occurrence was 1 in 100 you could still get 3 in a row!!!

If you had been seen by say three different consultants 25 years ago you would probably have been given three different answers. Medicine is often more of an art than a science.

In addition the consultant who gave those figures did so based on his knowledge at the time and prevailing knowledge, experience, your condition, etc. If your clone was seen today then, for the sake of argument, you might have been given a 1 in 10 Vance over the next 10 years.

So relax, enjoy things, and take things as they come. You may still be here in 20 years time in which case you wil have lived twice as long as your age at diagnosis!!!

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I believe the most important thing you can do for yourself is to live a very healthy lifestyle. Be sure to eat healthy, get plenty of sleep but above all, don't stress the little things. As others have said, dance, sing and be with people you love! Live for today and stay positive. Best to you, Gracey


You don't say how old you are so it's hard to assess anything about you statistically. I disagree with Goldfish. One shouldn't obsess, but I think it could be helpful to look into the statistics where the docs get their survival estimates from. I'd look for information about people who most closely match my age, genetic background, overall health, etc. The better match you can find, the more applicable the stats will be to you.

I would have laughed if you'd ended your post "lucky to finish this sent"


You missed it. Bionic stated diagnosed at 45 and then went on to say for the last 25 years. That makes them circa 70 in my book!!!!


Oops, right you are!

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One of my nick names was eagle eyes!!!

Even though it was posted two days ago I remembered the info was there!!!


Thanks to everyone again for responses - I had no idea my question would generate such a variety of supportive comments. I think we have exhausted the subject now but I hope others who might also wonder about their prospects with heart problems have benefitted too.


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