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Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD, Medical Doctor
Category: Cardiology
Satisfied Customers: 55803
Experience:  Cardiology Expert
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I am coming onto a year since a fairly serious heart attack

Customer Question

I am coming onto a year since a fairly serious heart attack and subsequent heart failure. I still have some problems (valves) which will need to be monitored but my heart function is normal and I've been told I have no restrictions now with regards to
exercise and activity and travel. I've survived a year thinking my life would be shortened and lived with a lot of limitations. Now that I've been declared healthy I'm terrified to live. I'm frightened of the regular gym, without the safety of cardiac rehab.
I've been to the ER twice with chest pains. Why have I been ok as a sick person and a nervous wreck as healthy person? I'm in therapy and have been long term but I haven't figured this one out. Are there support groups? Something for survivors of heart attacks
and heart surgery? I'm frightened all the dr doesn't know of any.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cardiology
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 2 years ago.

what is your ejection fraction?

what meds are you on?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
A month ago I had an echo and it was 60. A week ago I had another because of SOB and the report showed three readings which were anywhere from 56-60. I hope that means it's still 60. I've been worrying about it a lot, staring at the report and hoping it starts to make sense. MOD-Sp4 is 60 so I'm hoping that's the real one, lol. I'm on metoprolol, lisinopril, aspririn, and Lipitor. My dr says we may be able to stop or at least lower some of the meds because I'm doing so well. That scares me too. I just don't understand how I was coping as a sick person and suddenly feel so fragile now that I'm healthier than I ever thought I'd be again. Thanks, ***** *****
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 2 years ago.

are your coronaries clear?

why can't you do cardiac rehab? or did you already?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I had angioplasty and a stent. Stress test looked good. I had cardiac rehab for 9 months and now insurance won't cover more as I've recovered so well. My doctor says I'm fine to go to the regular gym, rehab unnecessary now. My doctor also also says I should be singing and dancing but I just feel fear. I was sad, but fine and functioning when I thought I had extensive heart damage and now that I've had what has been called a "miraculous" recovery, I'm too scared to do anything, including exercise. I'd accepted being sick and now that I'm so much better, I'm suddenly having flashbacks and nightmares and panic attacks. I am seeing a counselor who wants me to see a psychiatrist but I'm on so many medications, I'd like to avoid it.
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 2 years ago.

If your ejection fraction is that good, you are fine!!!!

You can exercise! Stop worrying!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That's what my doctor says too! But I'm worried with those 56-60 multiple EFs that it's dropping and I'll be told soon I'm in heart failure again. What is strange is that this is happening after I'm so much better and not right after HA when I coped without too much worry. Been given Ativan and don't want to become addicted to that.
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 2 years ago.

ask for zoloft. It is not addictive and better for anxiety AND heart safe

even if your EF is 45 you are still fine and it certainly isn't that low

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Agh just those words scare me- that it could get that low again. Actually more like 30-35. I have been in a funk since I saw echo report and another doctor in the practice called it "low normal" which I've never heard 55-60 called before. He said totally normal is 65 and so I feel like my "miracle" wasn't exactly a miracle.
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 2 years ago.

Yours is normal. Stop worrying!