Unrecognized silent heart attack - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Unrecognized silent heart attack

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Hi all,

I had a heart attack (septal infarction) at some point in the recent past and didn't have any symptoms. I recently had some testing that confirmed this. We're not sure how much damage was done but I'm completely asymptomatic right now and have no risk factors.

Just wondering if anyone has had a similar e experience and what the life expectancy might be.

Thanks in advance!

13 Replies
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Philippa_BHF
Philippa_BHFAdministrator

Hi Heartaz,

Your heart attack,from what I can gather, would have been diagnosed through an ECG as this determines what part of the heart and which coronary artery was affected. It might be an idea for your GP to refer you for an echocardiogram which is a commonly performed procedure( like an ultrasound) which shows if any actual heart muscle damage has occured. Sometimes a procedure called an angiogram is also done to look at the blood supply to the heart.

You don't say if you are on any medication( which is the norm once a heart attack diagnosis has been made),and you may want to attend your local cardiac rehab programme as all of this is a part of the long term care/recovery side of things.

Some people do unfortunately slip through the net though,especially if there were no symptoms,so your GP should be able to sort this out for you.

it is great that you have no symptoms or risk factors,but you should still have some kind of medical follow up.

Please feel free to ring our heart helpline on 0300-330-3311. There is someone there Monday- Friday from 9-5) if you would like to speak to a cardiac nurse in greater detail about all this as it must have been a lot to take in!

I hope I've helped.

Take Care,

Philippa

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in reply to Philippa_BHF

Thank you for your reply Philippa. I am a nervous wreck waiting for these results, in part because I have a 3 month baby to care for and am so sad to think that she might have a future without a mum. I'd love to call the helpline but need to get international calling on my phone. In the meantime is there anyone who would be available to chat online?

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in reply to Hidden

I would be more than happy to provide a donation for your service as I know I'm not a British citizen.

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in reply to Hidden

I have read a lot about heart attacks and heart failure and it sounds like it's inevitable that at some point in the future heart failure will set in which will eventually cause death. Is this the case? How long can someone live after a untreated heart attack if they're asymptomatic?

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in reply to Hidden

I forgot to mention they are suspecting a septal infarct. Just waiting on results from the echo so I'm not on any medications yet.

Julie_BHF
Julie_BHFBHF Nurse
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Hi,

Just following on from Philippa's post a few days ago.

Not all heart attacks result in heart failure - the echo will confirm any 'long-standing' damage or heart failure if it's present.

It's good that you're being followed up - the next stage (usually) will be to determine why you had the heart attack in the first place - there is always a reason - and they can find out by more tests and/or an angiogram.

I hope this information is helpful.

Wishing you all the best,

Julie

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in reply to Julie_BHF

I'm still waiting to meet with the cardiologist but in the meantime my echo has come back 'normal'. Is it possible to have had a heart attack but still have a normal echo? My ecg had pathological q waves in leads V1 & V2.

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in reply to Julie_BHF

Thank you for your reply, Julie!

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Hi Heartaz,

My doctor found mine at an annual checkup. Given my lifestyle at the time, it may well not have been silent. We guess somewhere in the previous year and if i look back i was really ill for that year just to busy working. I had LVEF 20%, enlarged heart and my selfie in the emergency ward shows 84% SPO2. I was told an internal defibrillator would extend my short lifespan.

18 months on, my cardiologist tells me i can expect a normal lifespan "If I Behave". Part of my heart muscle died and i cant get that back. Behaving, for me, was all Lifestyle and of course my stent. Behaving helped with all my other illnesses too. I have no symptoms.

So, please take all the support, all the advice and try it. Not everything worked for me but some worked better than planned. If you are worried or unsure then ask here, see you GP, go to A&E. I wish you a good and speedy recovery.

Forgot, turned out i was on the recovery route before they could fit the defibrillator. SO dont have one.

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in reply to Hidden

Thanks for sharing your story Witherndale. I'm glad to hear your doctor thinks you can have a normal lifespan. Do you mind me asking how old you are and what kind of treatment plan you have to follow?

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in reply to Hidden

Hi Heartaz,

sorry it took so long but it took me a few attempts to write this.

I am 57 (The easy bit) and was 55 when my HA was discovered(probably same age when it happened but not sure).

My initial treatment plan was 1 stent and quite some medication but at 20% LVEF it really was just stay alive until they could fit the ICD. I did cardio rehab, badly, and other illnesses meant frequent emergency hospitalisation.

I tried to lose weight but still went to work and even took a 2 hour plane ride. At the pre-icd check, i showed over 30% LVEF so they delayed it by 6 weeks. Then i showed 36% and they delayed it again. I set about losing weight, stopped work, and just walking, i hit 42%. On it went to normal size, normal function, normal lifespan.

When i started to write back to you, i realised that i do not have a real plan from my doctors. My Cardio, my GP, my Diabetes doctor, my psychiatrist and the surgeon who tries to amputate as few bones. They all had different priorities but it sort of came together well. Lose weight, exercise, de-stress, diet, stop beer all went together. I am healthier and have a full lifespan yet i am still obese and need more exercise. No more bone infections, wounds heal and half the medication.

Hi, I hope your recovery goes well, I think I had a similar issue , how do you find it?

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Hi, I don't know what type of heart attack you had but I once went to a job interview and they did a medical which included an ECG. I got the job and on my first day they told me I had to have an ECO because it showed a heart attack!. I was in my early 30's and healthy. They did all the test (American company) and told me many people suffer small heart attacks in the life and never know and mine had been one of those.

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