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Forum Name: Ischemic Heart Disease

Question: Weak heart


 alipramod - Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:57 pm

My father is 68 and had 2 strokes within last 5 years. Two months ago he had a bypass surgery (2 grafts), almost all of his heart arteries were blocked (RCA, LCA,..) . His surgeon told me that the left side of his heart is damaged (due to stroke) and they can not do to much for it. After the surgery he had pneumonia. This week he had pain in his left side and neck and now he is in CCU. The doctor told me that his heart is weak ( less than 30% of his heart is working). Is there any solution for this problem? what about heart pacer? does pacer will improve his situation?
After surgery he is quite nervous and became sad with a tiny problem.
He has diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol but he follows his diet. He use metoprolol 50 and ....
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:28 pm

User avatar Hello -

Your father does have several major risk factors for heart disease and stroke, so it's not too surprising these things have happened. The problems now are, first, to help his heart to work more efficiently and to increase the left ventricular ejection fraction, which is what that 30% means. The left ventricle is pushing out 30% of the blood in the chamber with each beat. It should be at least 45-50 per cent. Because of this he is at increased risk of dangerous heartbeat abnormalities, so he may be given an implantable defibrillator. Some weakend hearts actually have been successfully strengthened by use of a special type of pacemaker, but it's not the approach of first choice. Medication and other therapies may help get this output to increase.

Pneumonia is one of the most common problems seen in ICU patients in general, and especially in patients who have had bypass surgery. They will need to make sure his lungs are filling with air (that he is able to breathe fully and adequately). As his chest heals this should improve, but for now they may give him a device to help him practice deep breathing.

Post bypass patients also are very commonly anxious and depressed (sad) so this is fairly normal. Hopefully as the days pass and if he begins to improve, this also should improve. A positive outlook may be difficult under these circumstances, but it is essential to his recovery. I hope you can help him to look on the positive side of things (he's had two of his coronary arteries repaired, for instance, and his heart may grow stronger with time, slowly advanced activity and medication).

It is always difficult to see a loved one in such a situation, but it's very good that you spend time with your father now. Understand that his mood is normal for this situation and it should improve. Let's hope that with proper therapies he regains some more of his normal heart function, as he can then build upon that.

I hope this is helpful to you. My best to you and to your father. Please follow up with us here as needed.

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