Congestive Heart Failure Community
1.61k Members
Avatar universal

Please Help

Please can someone help.  My husband is very ill in hospital.  He is 56 years old, had a major heart attack 7 years ago but recovered and has lived a normal life until recently.  A few weeks ago, he developed an abscess on his belly (there was a spot and he picked it).  His GP (doctor) didn't do a swab so they didn't really treat him with the correct antibiotics.  He is also a Type II diabetic, food controlled.

The abscess was starting to heal up, but earlier this week he started feeling ill.  Both myself and my son have had heavy colds recently and he thought he was coming down with the cold too.

On Thursday we was really ill, said he felt "wobbly" and he was a bad colour.  I took him to hospital (not impressed with his general practitioner doctor - we are in the UK by the way) as I thought he might have the start of sepsis.

At the hospital his blood pressure was dangerously low - 60/45 with a pulse rate of 96.  He was admitted straight away.  Later in the evening they started to get the preliminary blood test results back and yes, he did have the start of sepsis but ontop of that, they suspected he'd had a silent heart attack.

The results of the second blood test confirmed that he had had a heart attack.

His daughter is a nursing sister at the hospital and what I've learned from her has terrified me.

Seemingly, the first heart attack he had damaged 54% of his heart - yes, it was a big one.

This one they estimate has damaged another 17% - 20% of his heart.

On top of that he has cardiac edema and they are treating him for that - although they were worried that the drugs they are using would drop his already low blood pressure (at the time 95/60 - they wanted it to be over 100 and steady) they decided to go for a calculated risk and give him the medication as his breathing even on oxygen is laboured.

As far as I can gather they may perform an angiogram on Monday and perhaps also an Angioplasty although his daughter let slip that they might be going for a bypass.

So far I have not spoken to his consultant as every time I go in, there seems to be some other family member there.  Tonight his 90 year old father came in and much as I like the man, he was a pest - I was unable to even talk to my husband and eventually hubby told me to take his father home.

I am really scared for my husband and need to know if there is anyone on this forum who has been in a similar situation and survived or knows anyone who's survived and what the treatment was.  Also what quality of life after the treatment.

Sorry to be so long-winded but really hope someone can at least give me some encouragement that all is not lost.
63 Responses
Avatar universal
Please try to relax ... I do not know if I have ever been as sick as your husband is, but I can tell you that when I have my HA, my wife was told that most probably I will not survive that night, the day after we were told that I can be left for ever in bed .... I am here 3 years later still very alive.

In was you say there are good relaxing messages ... If he were very sick, they will not wait till monday for the cath. neither will allow him to stay with many people arround  and definitly he will not be even to speak to you to ask to take his father home... So situation it does not seem so critical.

I do not understand the terms that you use about % of heart left.. one standard measurement is Ejection Fraction... for your info, mine is only 23% and as I said I am OK.

As per the bypass, do not worry too much, particularly in cases of diabetic patients this
is some times better than the stent.

Hope everything goes well.

Avatar universal
Hi Jesus and thank you so much for your encouraging reply.

I am not long home from the hospital and what a difference a day makes.  The doctors have now got rid of the infections, they have put him on Frusimide (similar to Lasix) to get rid of the fluid round his heart.  Since they did this, he been able to come off oxygen and is breathing on his own.  They have also taken him off the ECG and just left on the BP and pulse monitor.  They have also removed one of the canulas in his left arm, leaving him with just the one which is infusing insulin and glucose.  They are taking him completely off the monitor tomorrow and allowing him to take gentle walks round the ward.

They have got his blood sugars under control now at 6.3 (not sure what the American equivalent is) and they are sending the diabetic team to help tomorrow.

It was good that no other visitors came today and we were able to talk properly.

He told me that, in order of treatment the doctors were dealing with his problems in this order:

1)  Getting rid of the sepsis and chest infection.

2)  Getting his blood sugars under control.

3)  Sorting out the heart attack.

4)  Sorting out the abscess which was the start of all this problems - they say there is still some underlying pus and may well open it and clean and drain it properly.

5)  Sorting out his underactive thyroid (not actually working now).

All in that order, so the heart attack has been prioritized as 3rd, not 1st.

They are going to do an angiogram and are looking at doing an angioplasty but have also told him they may not do the angioplasty, instead letting time and rest heal things.

He is certainly looking much better today and is even beginning to get his appetite back.  The hospital food is much improved from the last time he was in.

It is amazing what a difference just one tablet has made in less than 24 hours.  I hope he continues to make good progress - but it is still a worry.


Avatar universal
One day does make a huge difference.

Three and half years ago I was taken to the doctor, where they did a ECG, and told my husband that I was in the middle of a major heart attack.  I was taken from the doctor's office, on a strecher, to the nearest ER, where they were in hopes of stabilizing my situation in order to send me on, by helicopter, to the nearest Cardiac unit, about 90 miles away.

I arrived at the Cardiac unit in, what they said, was grave condition.  They told my husband to say his goodbyes, and contact all other family members.

Day two, they came into my ICU room, told my husband and I, it wasn't a heart attack at all, but a bleeding ulcer.  After 7 pints of blood(the human body holds about 8 pints) and 48 hours, they sent me home to heal.

Since then, I contracted a Super Virus, and now have stage 4 heart failure and have suffered a HA, stage 5 kidney failure(end stage).  I am a card carrying pacemaker/defib recipient, with a Merlin(24 hour heart monitor, in house), I am a home hemodialysis patient, with my husband trained as my technician and we do dialysis 6 days a week.

With all of that, and the fact that I've been told more times that I can remember, that I am terminal, I still have a life.  

Yesterday, I spent the entire day fishing, and hiked well over a mile, uphill, and today I'm fine.

My point?  Don't give up hope, there is a very good chance that your husband can come out of all of this unscathed.  Don't baby him, but rather push him to get up and do what he can do without losing his breath.  As long as he can talk without having trouble breathing while exercising, then he can keep doing whatever he is doing, and the more he does, the better he will get.

I hope the best for your husband and you.
Avatar universal
Hi.  I'm no stranger to dialysis - my son had complete kidney failure at the age of 15.  Was on home peritoneal dialysis until he had appendicitis then went on to haemodialysis at the hospital 3 times a week.  He had a kidney transplant 2 years ago.  My wonderful brother donated one of his kidneys.  We have a hereditary genetic condition in my family called Alports Syndrome which mainly affects males.  It is because one of the X genes in the female side is flawed.  My brother inherited the good gene, I inherited the bad gene and passed it to my son.  He's never looked back since he got his new kidney.  Even when he was on dialysis he still went out and did what 15 year olds do - play football and everything else his friends did.  He is 24 years old now.  Altogether he was 7 years on dialysis.  My husband is not my son's father (son from previous marriage).

Hubby is a lot better today and he is off all the drips now.  He is a diabetic and they stopped the insulin at tea-time tonight.  They have put him on Glucoside tablets (not sure what they're called elsewhere in the world - we're in the UK).

They have the two infections whacked but are still concerned about the abscess.  They think there is still a pocket of pus in there so have swabbed it again and photographed it.  Think they are going to consult with another hospital that specialise in skin wounds.

His consultant says he should have an angiogram sometime this week but he is way down the queue - consultant said they have more serious cases at the moment to deal with (read between the lines there).  His consultant went on to say that they are looking at 3 options at the moment.  The first being to do nothing depending on the angiogram results and just let his body heal itself.  The second angioplasty and the third, again depending on the results of the angiogram, possibly a heart bypass op.

They are also going to deal with the thyroid problem this week (underactive - well, not working at all).

It's really a case of just wait and see at the moment but he is looking much better, sounds much better and is getting his stubborn streak back.

He also had an echocardiogram this morning but don't know the results of that yet.
Avatar universal
Glad to hear your husband is doing better.  I hope he continues to be on the upswing.

I'm still doing well, and hope to continue to do so.  Today I cleaned house, and it really tired me out, but I think mainly because it's not fun to clean house. :)

Keep us posted on how your hubby is doing, and don't forget to take care of you.
Avatar universal
He's been moved to the low risk part of the ward now which is a good sign.  So is the fact he's got stubborn, got his fight back and is complaining that he's bored.

Unfortunately, he's fallen out with his consultant (no surprise as they fell out 7 year ago resulting in hubby discharging himself) but this time I'm on his consultant's side.

The problem is last time he had a heart-attack he was put on Lipitor (Astervostatin sp) and it had really bad side effects on him, including peripheral neuropathy, memory loss, legs feeling like leg and was impacting on his lifestyle and wellbeing badly.  The doc says that it's the only statin that can deal with the type of plaque that's built up in his arteries.  Most of us who have delved into the side-effects of statins know that CoQ10 given alongside counteracts the side effects, letting the statin do it's job without causing problems for the person taking them but they do not prescribe that here (or elsewhere for that matter) and CoQ10 is quite expensive to buy privately.  However, the other doctor (the junior doc) I spoke to last night at length and he is going to swot up on it and see what he can do.  I think a compromise could be reached that will keep everyone happy.

Graham is now just waiting for an angiogram to see how they are going to tackle his heart problem long-term.  He has damaged both sides of his heart now - we know that from the ECGs and echocardiogram.  Depending on what the angiogram shows they will either do nothing, go for angioplasty or heart by-pass.  It's really a case of wait and see now.

The abscess on his belly that started all this burst quite spectacularly yesterday when he was in the bathroom so hopefully it might start healing up properly now.  Apparently it bled quite heavily but it took a lot of the pus with it (yuk).  Because it bled heavily, they have cut back on the doseage of anticoagulants they were giving him.  He did get a big scare and ended back on oxygen for a short while but his sats are 100% - they say his sats are better than a man much younger than him so they seem to be quite pleased with him.

He phoned me this morning and sounded much better/  I'm just going to see him in a few minutes so will know much more when I talk to him later.
Have an Answer?
Top Heart Disease Answerers
159619 tn?1538184537
Salt Lake City, UT
11548417 tn?1506084164
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is a low-fat diet really that heart healthy after all? James D. Nicolantonio, PharmD, urges us to reconsider decades-long dietary guidelines.
Can depression and anxiety cause heart disease? Get the facts in this Missouri Medicine report.
Fish oil, folic acid, vitamin C. Find out if these supplements are heart-healthy or overhyped.
Learn what happens before, during and after a heart attack occurs.
What are the pros and cons of taking fish oil for heart health? Find out in this article from Missouri Medicine.
How to lower your heart attack risk.