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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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Is damage on heart after a heart attack reversible?

Answered by
Dr. Karen Steinberg

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1981

Answered : 824 Questions

Posted on Thu, 7 Aug 2014 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: I had a heart attack. I was wondering you can tell me how MUCH damage I have to my heart. Can you tell from these readings. Can the damage be reversible. Thank you so very much.
Answered by Dr. Karen Steinberg 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Significant damage

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX thank you for using Healthcare Magic. The LVEF mentioned on the study is below normal. LVEF is a measure of how well your heart is pumping blood. The study also mentions a fairly large area of damage in the front part of your heart. The general assessment mentions mild to moderate decrease in pumping ability of your heart. The EKG shows an abnormal rhythm and changes consistent with a heart attack. Such abnormal rhythms commonly occur during a heart attack. These may go away once your situation has stabilized. Depending on the extent of permanent damage, some abnormal rhythms might persist.

I am presuming these tests were done during the actual heart attack or very soon thereafter. If so, some of the damage seen might be reversible, and may not be as severe as the study showed then. During a heart attack, areas of the heart muscle near the place the attack occurred can go into a kind of shock. When the test is done during that time, these areas are not working properly and it will look like the heart function is decreased more than it actually is. After things have stabilized, those areas "wake up" and start working. A test for heart function would then show improvement. In that sense, the damage is reversible. The heart muscle completely destroyed during the heart attack is permanently damaged and won't come back.

If it's been several months since your attack, another EKG and imaging study would be helpful in defining how severe the permanent damage is. In any case, you should be following up regularly with your cardiologist to monitor your status and treat any further complications that could occur.

Hope this answers your query. If you have more questions, I would be happy to answer them.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
Follow up: Dr. Karen Steinberg 1 hour later
Dr. XXXXXXX Steinberg
I thank you for your answer. May I ask you another question? The one EKG that showed normal reading dose that show something that should have been followed up? It was 3 weeks before the second EKG was XXXXXXX I didn't follow up with the first EKG. I should have done that. I think I waited to long! I did not have normal angina. I had severe headaches like brain freezes come and go within 15 minutes. I did have nausea and jaw pain. No chest pain what so ever.
Answered by Dr. Karen Steinberg 21 minutes later
Brief Answer:
EKG should have been followed up

Detailed Answer:

The first EKG did show minor abnormalities, and the doctor answering your question did recommend appropriate followup. I am afraid you did wait a little too long. However, if it was only 3 weeks between that and your heart attack, you may have not had enough time to get anything done anyway. Women often don't have typical symptoms with a heart attack or angina, and that fact also makes it harder to know it's truly the heart that is a problem. As a result, the diagnosis may not be made until damage has occurred. This sounds like what happened to you.

I hope you are now being followed by a cardiologist so further complications can be avoided. Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T

The User accepted the expert's answer

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