British Heart Foundation
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Newbie

I have just found this site by accident and hope it can help me as I feel confused and frightened. I had a heart attack three weeks ago on a Saturday night just took some painkillers and went to bed as I did not realise what it was.Went to doctors on Monday and told to go to hospital where I have had two stents fitted.i am now at home after being released from hospital with no after care from NHS,Don’t know what to do don’t have energy for anything and generally feel like my life is over.Thought I would feel better after a stent but I don’t.please help with words of wisdom. Thanks

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Hi there,

welcome to the forum, sorry to hear of your problems

Ok a few things, it will take a while for the stent to settle in, you are not alone and call your GP and make an appointment to see him/her to discuss medication and treatment.

The NHS hasn't forgotten you, they are a little slow at times and sometimes need a push. You will get a follow up appointment for about six weeks time, another reason to check in with your GP so they can chase for you. You should get invited to a cardiac rehab class up to 12 weeks post event, ask your GP about the ones in your area.

The BHF helpline is open Monday to Friday 0300 330 3311, you can speak to a cardiac nurse 9 to 5.

Here, we are here to help, share and listen, many of members will be along to share their own experiences, have a search through some of the posts, one example below

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

again, welcome

Mark

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Thank you

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Have you had no contact from anyone - including your GP? What about medication?

You can feel a little battered after having stents fitted and some rest should have been advised. Has Cardio Rehab been suggested? I would suggest in the first instance you speak to your GP surgery.

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I went to doctors to get a sick note from work but he did not have a clue why I had pain.i have heard nothing from cardiac rehab team

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Hi picas I was pretty much the same. I heard nothing from hospital until 7 weeks later when I got an appointment for rehab. I didn't go to gp as they had sent me away with antacids while having my heart attack so was too angry to contact them. Probably not my smarter decision but at the time that's where my head was. As everyone says visit your gp and ask all your questions. Did they not talk to you about rehab before leaving hospital and give you a heart manual. This was my bible when I got home and possibly the best thing for me at the time. If not phone hospital and ask for cardio rehab team number. This is they're job to support you Ask for heart manual it tells you all you need to know. Advises on exercise diet etc. Hope you start to feel a bit more positive soon but it's quite natural to feel isolated I certainly did. Let me know how you go. If you just need someone to chat to drop me a message❤️

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Did you have stents put in? Did you have pain?

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Hi Again

Most folks on here have had some form of operation - or due to undergo - at some stage and can talk from their own experiences - good or bad. Some have had this done recently - like yourself - and others a few years ago. If you get nowhere trying to discuss this with your GP then ask to see the practice nurse. I learnt more about diabetes & heart failure from mine than I did from the doctors themselves. Shoshov has mentioned the "Heart Bible" which just about everyone is given before they leave hospital. If you haven't then it is well worth exploring some of the leaflets etc the BHF produce. Here's a good start healthunlocked.com/bhf/disc...

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Yeah 2 in lad artery. Had some pain but not much until now 8 months down the line. I'm getting much more pain now and more frequent

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Why do you think that is

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Iv had a few problems with high and low bp. Diagnosed with pots a few months ago and as I keep passing out in rehab class I'm awaiting a recording device implanted in my chest. That's just my story Hopefully you'll just have a normal recovery but do try and get a hold of heart manual. Your hospital should be able to supply this. Good luck my friend

Shiona❤️

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Thanks let me know how you get on

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Will do

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Picass,

My triple bypass operation in June was scary but all the while the brilliant staff at St.Thomas' hospital in London were looking after me I was ok. I did not look forward to being released from hospital.

I can sympathise with you. From having dozens of health care professionals buzzing around you in the hospital you go to what feels like zero care once back at home!

As far as I can fathom, the ward clerk at your hospital will send your discharge information to your GP and also to the rehab team in your area. I thought I had been forgotten about as weeks went by before I was contacted. To be honest my GP wasn't a great deal of help (he did scribble an incorrect telephone number on a scrap of paper for me when I asked about rehab). My advice for you is to call the ward at the hospital who looked after you. They should be able to confirm steps are in hand to continue your support.

My care was brilliant. If I had any little criticism it was almost too much information was showered upon me upon discharge from the ward. I had a fair old pile of leaflets given to me, and yes, now I look back one of them contained the phone number for the rehab team.

Alec.

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Hi I also took pains in my chest 6 Saturdays ago and didn’t ph Dr till the Monday, I was fine on the Sunday, much to my horror I was diagnosed with a NStemi (heart attack) my artery was 90%blocked, I got 1 stent fitted. I didn’t feel better in fact worse this is due to heart muscle damage, it will take time to build up confidence I’m just waiting for my 6 week rehabilitation, it’s well worth going so I’m told. Get your GP to see you.

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Will the heart muscle damage fix itself or is it damaged for ever, I just live it over and over thinking why did I not go straight away when it happened then there may not be damage

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I keep saying the same, think the damage was done at the time and you couldn’t change that. The heart is a strong organ and the muscle damage will heal but may never be quite as good as before. That’s why rehab is so important. I got an echocardiogram last week just to see the extent of the damage done I’m waiting result. Hope you get your confidence back soon it pays to keep checking with the Dr for blood tests etc.

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I have not been offered one of those I have been in touch with cardiac rehab and don’t get an assessment til november the only thing up until then are group talks on diet excercise medicines etc

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I got an ECG two weeks ago just to see how my medication is doing and a chat with nurse. I’m in Scotland

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perhaps more money available in Scotland

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Hi I was the same mine happened on the Friday night on the way home from my sons footy and I went in and went to bed. All weekend I didn’t feel right but kept going. It took me until the Tuesday to go to the GP who told me it was just the stress of being a busy mum. Told her I knew it wasn’t stress and she referred me to the Rapid clinic anyway but said it would be waste of time. From the clinic blue lights to hospital the text is history. That has been 3 weeks for me now and I still get a heavy feeling and sore in my chest. Still unsure and scared of the unknown going forward and taking really bad nightmares at night but this site has really helped me.

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Did you have a heart attack..? What treatment did you have?

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I got an angiogram they done ballon in one the other is too large an area for stent and would require too many that could end up collapsing in. I have to be on meds just now and they will assess the next step in two months.

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How do you manage having children?

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I have 3 boys ages 24, 12 and 10 and a mad springer spaniel. Boys have done well though I am having to learn to pick my battles especially around gadget usage but I’ll get there. Really missing walking the dog but he is a puller so won’t be taking him out any time soon. I think it was a shock to the boys and I still see their faces the night their dad brought them up when I was rushed in to CCU.

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Are you in pain after your stent? Can you go out for a walk etc without chest hurting?

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I get heavy and have niggles throughout the day but I’m only 3 weeks in so hope this improves

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Do you just carry on or rest

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Ha ha I'm in Scotland and it's the same here. Iv not even had a follow up after stenting. You don't realise how bad things are until your caught up in it. I think it's pretty much a lottery where you live how well your looked after

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I have to admit this whole thing has shocked me from the way the hospital was run and people were treated to my release and lack of follow up.everything has been delay after delay wait after wait from the beginning when they were trying to find me a bed. We take the NHS for granted hoping it will be there when we need it but it’s a shock to find how lacking it is

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I agree. I use wishaw general. An a&e doctor actually had to admit me so that I could see a cardiologist. This was 4 months after HA. I was lucky enough to start rehab after 7 weeks but iv got my reservations about this too as they don't really supervise your sats unless you take I'll. you get pulse checked before and after class first two sessions and that's it. It's when you listen to what goes on in other rehabs that you realise the differences. What iv learnt is that you have to fight all the way for your care.

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Trouble is the way we feel at the moment we don’t have the energy to fight. Are you back at work

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I can relate to that but you'll get stronger. That's one of the reasons I didn't seek help in the following weeks. When I did have my rehab interview I was told that was they're job and don't hesitate to call if I had any questions. Don't get me wrong I know I moan a lot but the rehab sister is responsible for getting me to this point. She's the link with cardiologist but it's a very slow process(at least in my case).

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Sorry. Yeah iv been back at work since 7 weeks after. I didn't have a choice as I'm a widow and needed to pay bills. But I'm lucky enough to be a self employed driving instructor so I can work when I want within reason but it's still been very tiresome and frustrating to work enough hours to get bye

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I worry I will never work again..your whole life changes in an instant..you hear people say it but never realise until it happens to you. All your plans dreams fro the future just disappear

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No you need to get past that. I know where your coming from but believe me it does get better. I went through that phase until I started rehab. I know everyone endorses rehab and I do too as that's when I started to lose those feelings. It's because your out on your own with no support when the support kicks in you'll see life in a better way. Keep the faith.

By the way when I first started and mentioned not having contact for those few months I was told that if I lived in the same post code as hospital I would have got a visit every week from a cardiac nurse. You'll know how I felt on hearing that one. I live 15 mins from hospital but different post code🤷‍♀️

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I won’t see rehab this side of Xmas it’s a long time til then

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I phoned up the cardiac rehab to find out when my assesment was ...November and then they put me on a 6to 8 week waiting list for gym and physio...what good is that????

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Shocking but what can we do. You could maybe phone BHF nurses and see if they know of availability at another hospital close to you. Good luck

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It will take a micacle not luck ha ha and on top of everything else they are shutting our local accident and emergency department overnight so the nearest one is miles away with twice the work...can it get any worse ha ha

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Oh dear. The joys. Sorry I don't have any answers. As iv said I'm constantly chasing things up. At the moment I feel in limbo. I can't move forward until I get the reveal device fitted. Iv been barred from rehab 3 times now as I keep passing out and iv been told I can't go to gyms etc until I'm signed off from rehab. I'm at the stage now where iv got all these symptoms but I'm strong enough to push myself further but my hands are tied. It's so frustrating. I'm thinking of calling pals for help but I'm not really a pushy person by nature and feel it will make things worse as the docs might think I'm complaining. Which is what I would be doing but don't want to get on the wrong side

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That’s the trouble they have us over a barrel we are at their mercy

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Could you try chair excercises

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Could you try chair excercises or something less aerobic like Pilates or yoga

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I walk about 6 km most days work and weather permitting but would love to try other things. Im finding the longer this goes on I'm losing my motivation and discipline iv built up. Again I think it's being without the contact of weekly meetings with like minded people

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The tablets don’t help they make you feel so tired

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Welcome to the site. Can’t add anything to what others have said, other than the hospital will eventually send you a follow up appointment, if not get on to the cardiac unit or PALs at the hospital. Meanwhile go see your GP to discuss meds, diet. Make a list of questions before you go to any appointment and take it with you. Don’t be scared to pester and remember you are not alone. Good lucj

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Thanks

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Hi so sorry to hear of your troubles

I was visiting family in Cornwall just before Christmas when I had my HA, rushed into Treliske and had stents done that day. That hospital was fab, I can't thank them enough, and did an echo before they would let me home, and I got out Christmas eve, long drive back to Hampshire ready for family time.

Saw consultant in Basingstoke late January and started rehab straight after, BUT as he told me the NHS are fabulous at fixing us physically but not quite so good at sorting out our mental state. Rehab for me, was great and helped sort my mind as I could speak with others who'd been through a similar situation. We all have down days, some are far worse than others, but they do get less frequent and you do feel better. I went back to work after 8 weeks, probably a couple to early, however I needed teh change of scene.

As others have no doubt said, go back to your GP, make a slight nuisance of yourself and ask for counselling as well as rehab.

I know it seems as only dark days are ahead but they're not, you will gradually feel better and all will be good, not the same, but good.

Good luck with your recovery

D

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Everyone is praising re hab but I don’t even get an assessment until november seems a long time to cope on my own.there are a couple of talks to go to but no actual help.Did you have pain etc after your stents? How long was it before you could do more than potter round the house

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Hi Picass

In some ways I was lucky it being Christmas and new year so was planning just to rest at home anyway. You're right that there is a gap, mine was until the later part of January so just shy of a month. I was told at discharge to see GP within 2 weeks, which, as you can imagine is not always easy, but They were great and renewed my meds, and he spent 20-30 minutes just chatting, I realise now that he was gathering info on lifestyle etc, and gave some advice on gentle excercise. Apart from that I had a call from the rehab nurse and an appointment for the consultant late in January.

Please see your GP, and if you fell like it call the BHF nurses they are more than happy to help.

D

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What advice did you get on excercise

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I waited for eleven weeks for rehab to start. Could only walk 200 metres and felt sick and ill when I did that. Felt despairing and like life would never be worth living again. Was shocked at how swiftly I went from not needing a doctor for over 25 years to needing to see one regularly and how hard it is to get appointments in under 3 weeks. It is not the people in the NHS but the processes and systems that cause so many of the delays. Like everyone else I believed the NHS would deliver at the point of need - and it does brilliantly in an emergency - but I have been shocked by what I have seen over the last eight months. The feeling of being abandoned is really common. Most people I speak to in rehab mention it. But, here comes the cheerful and encouraging bit, I now feel better, walk a couple of miles a day and go twice a week to a stage 4 rehab class (means run by instructor not attended by rehab nurses), have lost weight but am still classified as "obese" - overweight or fat I can accept but obese? Just plain hurtful... lol. Have had a lot of trouble with getting the daily meds sorted but, with the help of a new GP, am getting there. The original GP I saw after discharge from hospital told me frankly she specialised in pediatrics and I told her I was unlikely to ever be 9lbs again so I made an appointment with a different one. Feel embarrassed all the time about booking an appointment and saying meds make me feel worse but I am determined to get back my life. It will get better honestly, it is just time and being determined to do everything you can to improve life. Good luck.

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Thank you there is light at the end of the tunnel then

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Hi

so advice on discharge was to rest when I needed it but not to sit still all day, gentle walk round garden or up the road till I started to feel tired then rest. They encouraged the occasional afternoon nap ( I had one most days for the first fortnight)

After about a week I was walking regularly a couple of miles per day, after 9 months I now average 7-8 miles per day BUT everyone is different, some can't make it to the nearest lamppost when starting out. I was lucky and was always walking during my job and not just sat at my desk.

The recommendation is that should you feel pain then you stop imediately till it goes off, use the GTN spray if you have one, if it lasts then its a 999 call.

All I can say is we're all different, listen to your body, your GP and dont overdo it.

D

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Makes me feel better about my day time sleep ha ha I was fairly fit before but now all I can do is potter round house

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How was your fitness before? I went back to A+E the weekend after my discharge as I felt so bad.

Had various chest pains for 2 months and paid to see a cardiologist.

He told me it was not my heart and that gave me the confidence to move on.

It can take a while to adjust to the bucket full of meds. They made me feel rough for weeks.

I went back to my GP 4/5 times and got him to change meds. Tried taking with and without food to see what was best for me.

It’s a long process and a massive life change. Are you eating well?

We are all different and recover at different rates.

Not sure if this helps but I think you will wake up one day and start to feel better and progress will come.

Regards

Neil

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What did he say your chest pains were if not your heart.yes eating well and healthily ha ha

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Stents settling in and in my head as I wanted to get back to where I was quickly.

Good to hear you are eating well

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Thanks

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It will get better I felt the same. Confused, abandoned and very sad that it had happened to me. It’s a lot to get your head round. Even coping with the meds each day.

I like you had 2 stents and felt battered.

I was fit before it happened and got back into gentle walking. Found being out in nature very therapeutic.

Eat plenty of different colours of fruit and veg.

Baby steps. We are all here to help you

Stay strong

Neil

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How long after having stents did you start to feel better,all I can do is potter round house

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Hi , can understand your concern I had a heart attack just over 2 weeks ago and 2 stents fitted , great care in hospital and I've had an appointment for cardiac rehab just made , they will be in touch but completely understand you being anxious but your not alone this forum really helps , all the best

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How are you feeling after stents fitted

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Hi I'm feeling ok , no pain but like you I felt lost and anxious and still do but that's easing as time goes by , it's still early days for me and you and it is a life changing event but not as much as we first think completely natural to have ups and downs but I think when you start having contact with your cardiac rehab team I think that will reassure you , I'm lucky that mine has been quite quick , have you anyone that has had a similar experience that you can talk to face to face?

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No not really this is all a shock and completely new territory.do you have no pain in chest at All?

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Hi Picass I think I'm lucky that I don't have any pain, but I didn't have when I had my heart attack just felt sick and acid reflux in my chest , I think we all have different symptoms and feelings after the stents go in and I'm sure there are lots of people on here who have your symptoms, my problem is an over active imagination so any twinge I get I think the worst but I'm guessing that's normal, you should keep on asking questions on any concerns you have as I said your not on your own .

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Morning picass hope your feeling better today. You do know that the cardiac team are at the end of the phone all day for you to call with any advice and concerns. Maybe if you keep pestering them and make it clear your not coping well they'll bring your appointment forward. As I said before you need to do the pushing.

Shiona

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No feel worse today could not have my dinner time sleep as I felt like I could not breathe then I had a panic attack oh well tomorrow is another day

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Oh poor you. If your worried and don't feel we'll call 911 or if getting pain 999. It's very early doors for you and at your stage you don't know whTs good pain or bad so even just to put your mind at rest remember there is help available you just have to search it out. Hope you feel better soon

Shiona❤️

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Thanks

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Hello, sorry to hear of your worries.

I had my first heart attack 11 years ago. I had the second a couple of weeks ago and am going in again for further stent work in

A couple of weeks.

My experience on both occasions left me very emotional on different levels. You also get the feelings from ones heart, flutters twinges etc. These remind one of the fact that your heart is there and is pumping. Perhaps a comfort or the realisation of ones health status. The positive is I had 11 years of no problems did everything needed to. Life went on and I feel sure this will continue.

Also “we”. Have had an MOT on our hearts and are in the “system”. My second episode pushed me up the priority scale

and my treatment was and I’m sure will continue to be at the high level of care.

I do hope I have helped a little. One other point. Talk about it to everyone. I inform others that a heart attack isn’t the classic symptoms of holding ones chest and collapsing. It’s more of feeling peculiar. Perhaps sick, aching arm etc. One in three

Heart attacks ends in the D word. So I spread the word. Maybe boring but maybe save a life. Ok that’s it.

All the very best

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MIne was in August with stents . I was eventually contacted by the cardiac rehab nurse but absolutely nothing else; no follow up appointment. All I got was a very technical discharge letter that I worked out said I had to arrange blood tests through my GP; one after 2 weeks, one after 4 weeks to check kidney and liver function once I'd started on all the tablets. You will eventually be contacted by a rehab nurse but for any worries, go to your GP. IT also said I would need to have another angiogram to check another blockage. I got that appointment just yesterday for a date in November Phone the nurses at the British Heart Foundation for advice on diet and lifestyle. I was told I must not drive for 4 weeks after the HA and stents but DVLA don't have to be told and my insurers weren't interested at all. Oh and no heavy work like hovering or mowing teh lawn for 6 to 8 weeks. Otherwise just take it easy and slow until you recover. Your heart has been damaged so, like any injury, it needs time to heal before you feel any benefit of the stents. I'm just starting to feel better after 6 weeks.

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My discharge letter said nothing about blood tests that’s news to me

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Maybe they didn't give you the tablets I got. One was to check liver function after being put on statins; that was after 4 weeks. I'm on something else that can affect your kidneys; not sure what. You should ask your GP and I would phone your consultant's secretary to complain that you were given no advice. Failing them, try PALS.

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Thanks this is all such a mine field

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A very scary minefield. Don't be at all surprised if you think every pain or ache is another attack. It does start to wear off but do treat yourself with kid gloves and take it easy for a few weeks to let your heart heal. Have a look on here for heart healthy recipes; cut out the fats, cakes , crisps and fried stuff and when you can, take little walks until the rehab nurse gets in touch. They will offer you rehab at the gym, very carefully guided. It will give you confidence.

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Thanks had a panic attack today tried to have my daytime sleep and felt like I could not breathe it really frightened me.i am eating healthy annoying thing is I always have well for the past ten years or so I don’t drink don’t smoke etc it’s so annoying

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Are you taking TIcagrelore? One of the common side effects is a feeling that you can't breathe. In some people it wears off after about 4 weeks. Unfortunately for me, it hasn't worn off. I'm ok now at night time but not after the morning one. I get feelings I can't breathe for about 4 hours. Try panting out loud. I get panic attacks too which then make me panic in case they affect my heart. It's a vicious circle.

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Yes I am taking that don’t understand why now I have taken it for about three weeks

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Have they not said anything about changing it for something else.

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I haven't asked to change it. It didn't start with me until I'd had it for a few weeks. You shoudl tell your GP if it's causing panic attacks and yes you do wonder if it's another HA. I already had an appt booked with a GP I Like which happened to be the week after I came out of hospital. His first words to me were; "This is going to make you think that everything is a heart attack. Don't hesitate to phone and speak to someone."

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The worry with a panic attack is wondering if it is a panic attack or another heart attack ha ha

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Hi newbie don't be worried. I know what your feeling. I ate a healthy diet, walked 40 mi s 3/4 x a week and went to gym and woke up in 3 June pain in my back where I was uncomfortable so had to sit on end of bed pain crossed my face from one end to other. Had a stent in 7 June told I could go home. When I came home I could t even lift a kettle hubby had to do that for the first wk, I could cook but couldn't wash dishes. As the weeks go on your able to do more things. If you would like me to itemise the things week by will I'm happy to do so. I had to relax for first couple of weeks. I went cardio rehab and my goodness it really improved me. I also had a heart relaxation tape which was very good and to this day still use it. It's such a shock being told you've had a heart attack. I also found this by chance and people are very good if you ask questions.

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