What happens now and when : Hi. Had a... - British Heart Fou...

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What happens now and when

46 Replies

Hi. Had a heart attack on the 15th April , rushed to emergency hospital and stents put in place . Very dramatic experience and life altering. How long is it until a medical professional contacts you afterwards? What’s this cardiac rehab I keep reading about ? I feel like this has happened to me and then booted out the door with no follow up or care

46 Replies
Claire2405 profile image

Hi. I feel the same. I left hospital yesterday with so many questions. I think I will call the bhf helpline Monday. Sending love x

in reply to Claire2405

I had to call my doctor yesterday for antibiotics for my throat and even though I told her I had a heart attack a week ago she didn’t ask me anything about it . I feel so let down and lost by it all . I’m so greatful for this hub and glad that I found it .

Nettekin profile image

Hi notdead(!). Sorry to hear of your recent heart event. I think you will find your experience is very common. It's not just during these strange times either. I had a ha and 2 stents in July 2019. Although the cardiac rehab was offered within the 6 week time frame and I really can't recommend it enough, my GP was also disinterested. I had to beg for an appointment and I could tell he really didn't understand my need to discuss why it has happened, etc. I wasn't assigned a consultant, but a specialist nurse practitioner, based at my local hospital. She was fantastic, answered all my questions and provided reassurance. I saw her every few months for a year and then was discharged back to my GP. Now I find I'm back to little follow up, no medication reviews and irregular blood tests. Touch wood I have had no further issues and just hope this continues as I have little confidence in the doctor. Also bear in mind the effect these events have on your mental state. My own ha came completely out of left field and I think I dealt with it by going into complete denial - not an approach I would recommed! Ask for help if you need it. Sometimes (often?) we have to push quite hard for what we need.

Very best wishes for your recovery. It is early days for you. Be kind to yourself, take meds as prescribed, eat well and exercise gently. X

in reply to Nettekin

Thank you for the swift reply ! Yes I’m actually demented by it all , mentally I’ve always been fine but since the ha I don’t sleep I don’t knew who I am anymore , I cry all the time and I feel so lost . It’s like I would grasp any piece of help I’m offered and I’m offered none at all . My husband has been exceptionally good and very understanding but he’s also of the mindframe off, ‘ well you’ve had a fright and now it’s time to revalue life and get on with it ‘ where as I am more like . Screaming inside and distraught about what’s happened to me . I really don’t want to call bhf or anything and beg for help I don’t even know the name of my consultant. Feels like I’ve been kicked out the hospital doors and the doors slammed on my face .

Nettekin profile image
Nettekin in reply to

I do so feel for you. I have never used the BHF helpline myself, but other forum members highly recommend it. It is not an admission of weakness and might just give you a plan of action and what you can expect to happen in the coming weeks. X

Sootycat profile image
Sootycat in reply to

That could be me talking 👄

SLondon profile image
SLondon in reply to

Hi there. Try and get on the rehab with your local hospital. I cried too and they taught us that after what you’ve experienced you get a form of PTSD and it’s usual to feel more emotional and cry. After 12 weeks if you are still feeling the same then there may be a more underlying issue. I found that gradually I started to feel better. Just give yourself time to recover and adjust to what happened. I had my HA in 2019 and now I don’t really think about it much. Whereas for the first 6 months it was all I could think about.

Hobbledehoy profile image
Hobbledehoy in reply to

Dear 🥀notdead,. You've had a huge shock, on all levels. Recognize this, & nurse yourself. Be as gentle & kind to yourself as you would be towards another. For as long as necessary. And do use the BHF helpline, that's what they're there for. I am so glad that you survived! Best wishes ☺️

in reply to Hobbledehoy

Thank you so much ,, I thought today would have been a good day but it has turned out not to be so . Feeling very jittery today like my chest is rattling . Very strange sensation.

in reply to Nettekin

In my practice and other practices in the local Network (in England), the onus is on the patient to request a meds review & blood tests (if required for review).

There is actually a note printed on the prescription that informs you when the Review is due/overdue.

Also, you should contact GP surgery to request repeat bloods if you feel they are needed/overdue.

Nettekin profile image
Nettekin in reply to

Hi Gaz. The system you have sounds effective. Here in my little corner of Wales it doesn't seem so easy. The last time I rang up for a blood test ( not heart related) the receptionists response was "who said you could have one?" Fortunately I could tell her and the the appointment was made. Normally we have no named doctors, it's a case of whoever answers the phone. Therefore if you want a blood test you would have to ring for a doctor's appointment, wait for them to call back, tell them you want a blood test, get them to put it in your file and then ring the receptionists back to book the test with that doctor's name! Or maybe that's just my doctors! X

This is exactly how I feel , emergency stents ( 2) and ha ! Plus the Covid stuff . Being taken away in an ambulance to a hospital so far away and not allowed your husband with you at all, it’s truly terrifing not only to to yourself but your partner and family as well . I’m home a week now and I haven’t seen any of my kids cus of the Covid stuff they think it’s safer for me to be isolating, both my daughter and daughter n law are nurses . So it’s me my husband and my cat . And you don’t want to talk about how scared you are all the time cus he’s had a terrible fright as well . I really just want someone to reach out to me and tell me things I need to know, to reassure myself and my husband .

Omg ,, so between you and the person who posted before you, I can safely say I won’t been seen for another 3 months!?! How is that right ?!!that’s absolutely insane !! I’m falling to bits mentally with this nevermind the physical pains and just the general fear . Wow thank god for this forum

JK5AEO profile image
JK5AEO in reply to

I know, I know! I didn't want to worry you, but this is the reality. I found this forum helpful to learn that I am not alone, and that it is possible to help yourself when doctors are not available. I haven't actually found a copy of "Teach Yourself Cardiology", but it is amazing how much you can learn, and then act upon it. If you demonstrate your knowledge to your GP they sometimes take you seriously and are less scared to try your suggestions, and go along with experimental treatments.

imps4 profile image

Please use BHF nurses if you need help or advice they are brilliant,take as much time as you need to listen and answer your questions. Also you don't wait days to speak to someone.

DCIHarry profile image

Hi, Sorry to hear about your recent event.

Unfortunately like many people on this forum, I have also “been there, done that, got the t-shirt”. I can only really offer advice based on my own experiences.

You have been through a significant and life altering event, so what are feeling right now is perfectly natural

Firstly, if you experience any physical pain, and are concerned/frightened don’t hesitate to contact 111 or 999 and ask for help. You may end up back in A&E for a check up (that’s just the way the system works) but it is better to be safe than sorry and get things checked out than the alternative

If you don’t need to do that - great - then the next thing you need to do is start dealing with specialists and not the generalists.

GP’s are good but are generalists - the clue is in the name - and in my experience have limited, second hand experience of HA, unless they have had one themselves.

So get in contact with your local community cardiac rehab team.

You should have been assigned to them on discharge from hospital and told about them in your discharge notes (so I would read those again just to double check).

If you haven’t then get back in touch with the cardiac consultant or surgeon who carried out your procedure and ask for the teams contact details.

Cardiac Rehab are specialists in this field and understand both the physical and mental aspects of what you have been through and are continuing to go through.

This is a critical step in your recovery.

If however there is a delay between now and then, contact the BHF nurses who are equally as brilliant and they will be able to explain things to you.

The advice I was given on discharge was that as long as the surgeons hadn’t messed up the procedure (which 15 months later it looks like they haven’t), then to many of the medical professionals I had been physically fixed and the rest was up to me. So I was advised to change my lifestyle in terms of taking the right amount of time to recovery, (taking each day as it comes), alter my eating habits and slowly increase my activity and exercise levels, which I have done/continue to do.

What nobody really spoke to me about was the mental side of things ie the fear and anxiety that can come after such a life altering event. I guess this is because different people react differently to this. Some people simply shrug it off and move on. Others like me dwell on it and worry about what if it were to happen again.

Again cardiac rehab helps with this, but if you need further help they can also refer you to specialist counsellors who can talk you through the anxiety and give you ways of coping with it.

Sorry this is a bit long, but hope this helps.

in reply to DCIHarry

Thank you so much for this , it’s the mental part that is getting to me , of course I am fearful and terrified of it happening again and every little twinge or pain I think it’s happening again , but there is other factors ie , I’m an avid reader I can and do read about three or four books a week , since this has happened I can’t even get through a chapter. So I worry about myself mentally and I mentally worry about myself . Also the doctor who came to see me after the ha, actually said to me , ‘ let’s see if we can get you to 60 ! ‘ It’s my 53rd birthday Tomorrow on the 26th April.. so I have what 7 years left if I’m lucky ?

Nettekin profile image
Nettekin in reply to

Hi again! Your comment about reading really struck a chord with me. A life long reader, easily getting through 3 or 4 books a week, for some reason I have struggled to return to it. No idea why, but have found it upsetting as always a source of enjoyment and comfort since I was little. As for the doctor's comment - some people just think they are funny. But a bit more bedside manner training would not go amiss. They have no idea how much a small comment can affect us when we are vulnerable. Hope your Sunday is sunny! X

DCIHarry profile image
DCIHarry in reply to

Not being a medical person, I cannot really comment on your GP’s remark, other than it certainly lacked emotional intelligence and was at best inappropriate and at worst idiotic!

Without hopefully making you feel any worse, in reality nobody knows how long they have left to live on this planet.

However what I do know is that having successfully survived a HA - and remember you did that - then all you can do now is to manage those things in front of you and stop worrying about those things you cannot manage or control.

Take the right medication, eat the right food, exercise learn to deal with your mental health issues and manage your overall well-being and lifestyle.

This is very easy for me (and others) to say and you might not be mentally ready to hear that right now.

I know first hand that it is not easy to actually do. I myself have spent the last 15 months (sometimes in very dark places) meeting these challenges and battling my own personal fears and anxieties. But I genuinely believe that if you do all of this, then you will have significantly increased your chances of living a very long and happy life that you will be able to embrace and enjoy every single day.

It does however take time, support from others, positive action and a positive mental attitude towards your future.

in reply to

Oh dear that is an unfortunate thing to say. I asked for 80 years and got it, you should have haggled! but seriously it is just one of those throw away comments that medical people make rather than any serious lifespan prediction!

Medics often have a strange sense of humour to get them through the day and when they do smalltalk they forget that the person on the other end isn't always in the same frame of mind. You are contemplating your own mortality while they are contemplating what they are going to eat tonight.

There are a thousand and one things going through your mind right now and making it through the day hour by hour is the best you can do.

Happy Birthday for tomorrow and consider yourself lucky you made it to 53!

SmokeAKipper profile image

Went through the same thing... this is what I learned you have to be proactive..... your alive.. you made it... now for the live changing things... your diet.... this needs to change now... my cardiologist said a vegan Lifestyle would benefit me Lot... he recommended CoEnzymeQ for lack of energy and also magnesium citrate 300 mg powder.. I suggest you mention this to your doctor.... next print out side affect of your drugs... some will need changing some dosage changed.... first 6 months your chest muscles will need to settle down... as per below you need to see cardio team... make a list of questions you need to ask them... if if you feel not well or you might have an episode get to A&E... next your weight....if you are over weight... you need this to lose the weight...

Now the mental side of things .. put it like this you are alive...

If you have BUPA contact the BUPA nurse.... tell how you feel... some people don’t understand so who are the people you can rely on ? Exercise keeps you positive small walks.. fresh air... stents I’ve learned last a live time.. very rarely issues... if in doubt this forum is great... ask me or anyone else here to chat.. all the best.. you’ve made it congrats...

in reply to SmokeAKipper

Really wish I had bupa now ! My husband has private health insurance through work and because he’s American he thinks that’s the way to go . I’ve personally never seen the need for it since we all put for the nhs anyway , but alas right now I could use the comfort of private health care . I’m gona wait until Thursday which will then be 2 weeks since the ha and start calling up medical professionals for some guidance and I think two weeks after the event they should have been in contact by then . Thank you . Honestly you don’t actually understand how much your words help me .

Cycling16 profile image

I am two/three weeks ahead of you and understand where you are. The acute sector is geared up to consider sending you home alive as a win and, of course, it is. I would not dwell too much on off hand things that were said to you. They are not appropriate but try and forget them as they will do you no good hanging onto them. There are lots of comments on here from people who have lived long lives after HA induced stenting.

If it helps I have had cardiac nurses and cardiac rehab on the phone and had some great chats which have been hugely reassuring. You will begin to feel better, I certainly do compared to where I was at your stage. However, don’t rush it and build it up in time. You may not need or want cardiac classes (I don’t) but being pointed in the right direction helps. Remember your head has had as much damage as your chest so take your time and be positive and remember that you can fix yourself too. It’s a great time of day to be discharged so do a small, flat surface walk everyday and increase the distance gradually. I’m not even at an hour yet but I know it is working.

Chrissydoll profile image

Hi me too I had a very dramatic n severe ha in April 2019 2 more stemts inserted now have 3 it was mths before I saw anyone after that I then got an appt at our local hospital to see cardiologist who discharged me as he said i was doing so well that was good but since then nothing I went to cardiac rehab which was really good to be honest but that's been it don't see or hear from anyone as a follow up which I think is bad really we ve all been through life changing event on Here and my personal opinion is there is nt enough follow up afte care I had my yearly meds review n bloods but that's that I ve been bk. In twice with wot I thought at the ti. E were heart related issues but they said its anxiety n stress related well Ye I m. Sure like others on here u re bound to be anxious after such a big event in ure life and I feel like wen u ring the doctors they say same its ure anxiety n get palmed off really!!!! Definatly not enough follow up!!! I hope u get sorted n feel better xx

nasus7 profile image

My ambulance took me out of county when I had my heart attack and stent so I had to get my GP to refer me for Cardiac rehab locally which was a little tricky as they didn’t quite know what to do. My heart attack was 5 weeks ago and I am now l2 weeks into the program which has been really brilliant so it is well worth pushing for. I had a 1 hour on boarding telephone chat with the cardiac nurse and an initial fitness assessment to test my heart rate face to face, both of which gave me an opportunity to ask all the question I had as this had all come out of the blue as I am a fit 58 year old vegetarian who runs and doesn’t smoke or drink. I have now done one online cardiac exercise session which was brilliant at monitoring you as the class progressed and pacing the exercises for the different abilities in the group and 2 on line education sessions on the heart and risk factors which again had a Q&A session at the end. All this has given the confidence to restart Pilates and do some very short gentle runs last week so I can really recommend as a way forward after such a worrying time.

Sootycat profile image

Glad your alive!!I had my heart attack and stents on July 1st and I'm still waiting. No cardiologist no rehab no nurse no nothing and I have been patient, pushed and waited cried wailed and given in. Hope you fare better. Good Luck

Ps sometimes you don't want to be pushy. Sometimes you haven't got the strength. I know. Mentally I am crushed. Stay strong I hope you get some reassurance soon xxxx

Sunnysummerdays profile image

Hi to you all, I notice how knowledgeable most of us are regarding medical information on cardiology,and in a sense thats a help to some of us,but the most helpful support for me after the traumatic experience of experiencing a heart attack,would have been some bedside manner,just a medic to sit with me for 10mins,listen compassionately to my fears of a near death experience and to comfort me at that immediate time before leaving hospital.I do believe this care and support would have been a great comfort in my psycho-logic journey in recovery aswell as the practical side ,of medication and physical side of exercise and life style changes...at the end of the day,we are all human and need tender ,loving care at these times, good luck bravehearts and take extra car of yourself today,your worth it!!! 🥰

in reply to Sunnysummerdays

Yes !! That’s it . Medical experience is fantastic but bedside manner and someone to just understand! I spent a few days searching for the image of nde that I seen , how I felt at that time is extremely hard to put into thoughts nevermind voicing it to loved ones .a hug from someone that can’t happen due to Covid , and like you said just someone to sit with me and help me talk about what happened and will happen going forward. You’ve hit the nail on the head .

The_Voice profile image

Love the username! And welcome to the club! A cardiac nurse will ring you and invite you for an assessment. Just can't say when owing to what's happening in the world right now.

My advice to everyone who's a freshy is to just take it easy and take your medication as advised until you've been for your rehab sessions. They'll build you up again gradually and then you'll be good as new in no time.

I had a read at the discharging letter as well and it’s telling me nothing, even on this forum a see a lot of words that I don’t understand either . I guess since there is nothing else that I can do for the time being , it’s a good place to start for some knowledge on what actually happened to me

Qualipop profile image
Qualipop in reply to

Absolutely. Get you GP to explain it in layman's terms. You will feel a lot better knowing exactly what happened and even maybe why. Get him to explain all your tablets too. They give the same collection to everyone. Some of them may not suit you and need changing and some you may not even need if they cause problems. You will need to be on ticagrelor and aspirin for 12 months then the ticag will be stopped. That's to prevent eh stents from blocking up. If you get any bad side effects from any of hem don't hesitate to ring the GP; any chest pain ring 999. It invariably won't be another heart attack but they won't mind you getting checked. I did it twice. One tablet made me so tired I couldn't function at all; my statin had to be changed too and my ticagrelor. There are plenty of alternatives. Give yourself a week or two just pottering about the house then start getting some exercise. Don't overdo it- just walking is fine to the end of he street then build it up slowly. Your GP will advise you depending on how bad he heart attack was and how much damage it caused. (or not). Look at your diet right away. The BHF main website has a huge section on diet with hundreds of heart healthy recipes. Stop smoking if you do- GP can help here again with their smoking cessation programme. Just don't try to do everything at once. Work on one thing at a time. Look at it this way. Yes you had a HA but you survived and now, with the stents and medicines you are in a much better position than you were before. You've been given a second chance. Grab it with both hands and enjoy your new, healthier life.

in reply to Qualipop

Hi there , yeah the meds make me tried and I still have a lotta chest pain , today I actually hung laundry outside then needed to pee straight after which is a trip upstairs, not good , heart rate was way up and it took a good half hour of relaxing to try and get my breath back and the pain tk ease slightly.I have also radically changed my diet in the past ten days since the ha and I’ve lost 8ibs so far. I’ve also cold turkey stopped smoking since it happened. Maybe I’m trying to get things done too fast ? I honestly don’t know . Thank you for all advice you are giving me . Am I trying to make too many changes too quickly?

Qualipop profile image
Qualipop in reply to

I would avoid arms up for several weeks until eh stents have bedded in. Get someone else to hang the laundry. Yes , too much too soon.. Smoking is brilliant- well done but take it a little slower with what you are doing and use that spray you were given for any chest pain. It will probably give you a rotten headache but that's when you are supposed to use it and maybe just temporarily use a bucket instead of rushing upstairs. Not nice but helpful.I definitely wasn't doing laundry the first week after mine.

in reply to Qualipop

Sorry if I’m annoying you with silly questions, but the spray stuff , what is that for exactly? Do I use that for chest pain ( which I still have a lot off ) I was under the impression that I was only to use that if I thought I was in the middle of another heart attack ?

Qualipop profile image
Qualipop in reply to

Nitro lingual. Goodness no, it's for angina which is chest pain /and or breathlessness. Sit down when using it as it can make you dizzy. If it takes the pain away then you know it's angina. If it doesn't then the pain is something else. Read the instructions.

EmmyLaury12 profile image

Hi not dead welcome to this forum full of fellow hearties with a big heart and kindnessx

I had my HA 1 year ago 1 stent and left in very much the same way as you . I was so anxious I had two more a and e admissions thinking I was having another HA . In hindsight it was probably my stent settling down which no one told me about !

I honestly feel you will get there with your anxiety because I did and many others

in this forum .

One year on I’m fine now so it does take time ,cadiac rehab, CBT, relaxation, meditation, talking to family , this forum all helped massively.

Take care , xx

cornflakes1789 profile image

Not dead.. love the handle... hugs and kisses and best wishes recovering.. the worst is over and you will most likely be fine .. do not panic if you get twinges as things take months to settle in and settle down but speak to nurses whenever you need to .. much good advice on this forum ..if you have access to the internet you will find much useful and supportive help.. if you do not have the mental energy to read search for help and info from youtube and other videos .. you are a survivor... the staff in the NHS are mostly great people working under impossible pressure but the system is not perfect and you managed to survive .. you will get over the emotional challenge in time and the dreadful patient experience you have had .. warmest greetings

in reply to cornflakes1789

Aww thank you so much ! Hugs n kisses back !! 💕💕

Wow that’s really awful ! I hope you get to see someone very soon , now that the Covid vaccine has been rolled out to the most vulnerable, they won’t be able to use this as an excuse. Hugs

Cofdevon profile image
Cofdevon in reply to

Thank you good luck and remember there is a life after a heart attack!

Zoesgranny profile image

I had an “out of the blue” heart attack 5 years ago today. Awoken 2am by the pain. Ambulance by 2.45 am. Hospital by 4 am. Stent by 11.am. Home next day by 12 noon with meds. Told I’d be contacted by cardiac rehab team but my referral got lost. When I phoned my local surgery to ask for GP help the receptionist said “We don’t do heart attacks here, that’s the rehab team”Eventually I was contacted and the GP told me I was lucky as I’d had a “good” HA.

To put in perspective, I now realise I was lucky. I only had one stent and an overnight stay with meds to help prevent reoccurrence. Some people have major damage, complex operations and lengthy recovery times with poorer outcomes.

Yes, it knocks your confidence but it does give an opportunity to start again and make changes. Take your time and try to relax a bit.

That’s fantastic Andy I’m so glad it worked out for you , x apparently though it’s looking like your care was an exception rather than the normal experience these days . Happy to here you are doing so well .

Andy_c profile image
Andy_c in reply to

Thanks for your reply, if i can help in any way just drop me a message.

in reply to Andy_c

Thank you !

nilmonisikdar40 profile image

That is the state of NHS in the country - rapid deterioration of the health care. You had a major procedure of the heart and who decides the follow up protocol. Is it the clinicians or hospital managers? The latter very often. If something happens , who will hold the clinical responsibility. I hope something has been sorted out by know. Have a good day,

Ewloe profile image

Hi Notdead. It’ll soon be 12 months since I became one of the undead 🙈🙈😂. Initially I was unable to make decisions, my confidence had gone ( I was full of confidence, managed a labour ward and could argue my corner), I was emotional, tired, in shock and lost. I was lucky to have a very assertive daughter who could sort things out for me.

Rehab were brilliant it took them about 2/3 weeks to contact me but I had there number given to me on coronary care. So could call them if needed. The ward you were on should have their number. Ask for it and phone them. Unfortunately I know in the Nhs you can sometimes get lost in the system and need to be proactive and this is when your struggling to be so. Don’t sit and meither about it get the number once you speak with them I’d be very surprised if it didn’t help. You will find a way through this!!!! It is a roller coaster and recently I’ve gone for counselling for generalised anxiety that for some reason has raised its head. Take care.

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