My brother in law just underwent quadruple bypass surgery after having an abnormal stress test and catherization. After the catherization, the doctors had told us that his heart muscle was in good shape, but he had severe blockages. However, during the surgery, the doctor told us that they did discover some scar tissue/damage to his heart wall from a heart attack that he apparently had had many years ago and didn't realize it.
My questions are:
1) Can they tell how long ago the heart attack was by looking at the scar tissue/damage?
2) Is it really possible to have a heart attack bad enough to cause damage/scar tissue and not know you had one?
3) Does this past heart attack/damage put him at any higher risk for complications from the surgery? So far he seems to be doing wonderfully, other than some left sided pain.
4) This question is related to his hospital stay -- the doctors have said it is a possibility that he may be able to go home Monday (his surgery was Friday afternoon.) We feel that this is too soon -- is this a normal length stay, or should we push a little harder for him to stay a little longer to make sure things are ok and that he will be able to move around comfortably at home (his home has many stairs)?
Any information you can provide would be appreciated. I have posted other questions in this forum before and have always found the forum to be most educational/informative.
2. Absolutely, a so-called silent heart attack.
3. It does raise the risk of surgery somewhat, but it sounds like he has already gotten throught the surgery OK.
4. This is a little sooner than average, but not unheard of after uncomplicated surgery. They will not send him out until it is safe to do so.
I can answer one question. Take it easy. I had open heart at 38 from an ASD with an anomalous pulmonary vein rerouted and they told me only once up and down my stairs for the first few weeks. It was at least a month before I could walk around the yard with a cane. Cardiac Rehab really helped and most insurances pay for it. I asked for it, none of the doctors brought it up. It is a supervised treadmill exercise program where they can monitor your heartbeats as you work out. It gives you strength and courage. I still go once in a while four years later to get my ekg and blood pressure checked. I hope the doctors can answer your other questions.
It is possible to have a heart attack bad enough to cause damage and not know you had one. I suffered a cardiac arrest from v-fib at the age of 44. They said I had had a prior heart attack which damaged my heart, which apparently messed up the electrical signals in my heart. That was the first time any heart problems were related to me.
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