British Heart Foundation

Pulmonary Oedema following heart attack

My husband had a heart attack on Friday. He was taken straight to the cath lab from the ambulance, and they said there was a massive clot in a major artery. They were able to remove some of the clot but because it was so big they did not insert a stent (danger it would push clots around the heart) and he is now in CCU where they have been giving him blood thinners, insulin (blood sugar in 20s) and CPAP to try to push the fluid out of his lungs and reduce the clot. The consultant told me when he was admitted that when they were sent the ECG by the paramedics they were convinced he would die before he got to the hospital. He also said that there may be permanent damage to his heart. There was no damage to any other arteries and they don't seem to be sure why he had a heart attack (he is slim, eats healthily, exercises etc and is 58 years old).

I am now getting very worried that he is not really improving. They are obviously worried but just keep saying take it a day at a time. He is struggling to breathe, very clammy, grey, and just really poorly. The doctor this morning says the problem is he has pulmonary oedema that doens't seem to be shifting.

My question is, is pulmonary oedema common after heart attacks? Is there a chance now that his heart will recover or does this all mean he will have heart failure? I'm not even sure whther he will recover at all. I am so frightened, and I am trying very hard not to let him see that I am worried. In addition to all the worry of his illness, it all hapened at Gatwick airport just before we boarded a plane (its a miracle he didn't board) so he is in hospital in London many miles from home and I am travelling to London every day to see him, which is a 3 hour journey each way. Our car was at the airport with the house keys in it, our bags were on the plane, its all been so stressful.

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Squoozy, I am so sorry about your husband. My hubby was taken straight to a specialist hospital after the paramedics sent his ECG. He was able to have two stents inserted and another three shortly after. As a non driver I had to travel at least 2 hours each way and found this part most distressing. At one point a rail employee got very concerned about me as I was so upset waiting for a train that was very late. Other members on here will be able to relate to your stress and give very good advice. Hope you get some good news soon. Thinking of you.

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Hi Squoozy,

I'm really sorry to hear you're going through this very stressful and worrying time.

Pulmonary oedema can happen after an 'acute cardiac event'. It's hard to predict what will or can happen next when someone is so poorly and receiving such intensive care. The medical team will be trying to stabilise your husband before they can do further tests (like an heart scan/echocardiogram) to assess the heart status and if there's any indication of heart failure following this acute event.

Please do call our Helpline if you'd like to chat things through with one of our cardiac nurses - we are here 9-5 Monday through Friday to provide information and support, not only to patients but to relatives too.

I wish you and your family all the best,

Julie

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That sounds like such a stressful situation to be in, sorry you've got so much to cope with. Make sure you are looking after yourself too. Do you have anyone who can help to take the pressure off, maybe travel with you occasionally? Much love to you and your husband x

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Thank you for your replies, it really is comforting. Just to update you, things are very much improved. The frusemide and fluid restriction made a huge difference and yesterday there was a real turning point. His colour improved and he started to chat and feel better. He went for an angiogram last night and they said there was no further sign of a clot and his arteries were all in good condition with no deposits. However, the place where the clot formed in the artery was very narrow, they think congenitally, and they put a stent in there. They also said that another artery has an odd narrow area and he will have to go back in three months to have a stent put in there. He is still on oxygen and they think there is some heart failure still, but it feels as if we are in a completely different place from a few days ago.

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Squoozy, that is very good news. Hope you are feeling ok, make sure you rest and eat as it is very important that you look after yourself at this stressful time.

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