Posted by AngieS1 on 07/28/2016

I would just like to know if any one of you experience changes in your looks


Submitted by SCAFoundation on 08/02/2016


We are not aware of survivors commenting about changes in their looks due to their cardiac events. Others may wish to share their comments.

Since the age of 21 I've had cardiac rhythm issues
and have been in so many heart meds over the years. The doctors could never tell me exactly what or why I had these. They would be random. I could go weeks without anything then go through a terribly long stretch of them . I had 3 cardiac ablutions with still no expkabarion of why. My family got used to moms heart stuff and it became more of an inconvenience to everyone including me. I'm 63 today. In July 2013 I had a heart attack with a stent placement. Because of so many years of being dismissed I really placed blame on the heat and work schedule causing extreme fatigue . One morning I got up and my legs were not strong enough to support me . I was nauseous and short of breathe . 9-11was called , they treated it like I had stomach issues, gave my a brown bag to breath in because they felt I was just anxious . . I was in the ER vomiting and it was forceful. Finally after about an hour , as I was trying to stand for a chest X-ray , all hell broke loose.,apparently one of the doctors saw an ekg and saw I was having a heart attack. I was put on a stretcher and hurriedly rushed to the ER and had a stent put in place. I felt the stick made in the groin for the catheter , as anesthesia hadn't taken effect. Really no reasons were given as to why and the cardiologist who found the heart ekg addressed me as lady. He told me in the ER "your having a heart attack lady".
He was just as curt after at follow up visits.This is the main issue I'd like to point out . I am a nurse for many years , I also at the time of this incident was a medical instructor who was also CPR instructor certified.Im appalled at the lack of connection to people like us that have dealt with irregular heartbeats . I've seen many cardiologist in my long history. All have never connected with the true anxiety you live with everyday just trying to do life, never knowing when it's gonna happen.
I retired after this incident, I couldn't mentally and physically do my job. I did go back to work 6 weeks after the attack but my shortcomings were obvious. Plans were made to go live with my daughter in England . She and her husband were due to have their second child and wanted me there to live with them. So December 5th I arrived and January 31 my daughter found me on the floor . I was yellow , no heart beat , bowels and bladder let loose. She was 2 weeks overdue and did CPR on me until medics came. I was defibrillated 4 times and flown by helicopter to some hospital an hour away. Two weeks later I had to be flown home where I had a defibrillator inserted. I know this is a lot but I suffer with depression and I feel helpless trying to get a cardiologist with an understanding of the scope of difficulties people face outside if there office or cath labs.I believe this issue really needs to be addressed in the medical community. I am a member of that community , and have been so frustrated and in disbelief over the lack of overall concern for the other aspects of patient care beyond having an event. I've had a long history of having cardiology treatment as well as working in that field. I really hope some if these studies look at this view and realize that there needs to be more conversations in the medical community of the aftermath effects of their patients. I survived twice. I live with"what ifs" every time I drive somewhere or plan an outing . I dont let it stop me , it's just something I live with. That's my story. Hope it starts some conversations in the medical research work.

Submitted by SCAFoundation on 05/27/2017


Hello, Thank you for sharing your story. You have obviously been through a lot. We agree with you that some in the medical community need to be more respectful and empathetic.

We have been involved with some research related to post-arrest quality of life that you might find helpful. We agree much more should be done to understand and support survivors and their families.

I think physical changes vary. Some people become quite deconditioned in the hospital and lose weight (often muscle). Some people have permanent scars from procedures or surgeries required during the hospital stay. New medications may lead to changes in hair/skin/nails. Vision changes may require glasses, not needed previously. So, in general, changes to one's looks really depend on the individual experience. Hope this helps!

Reading part of your shared-story was difficult and I hear your frustration and uncertainty with what you and your family have experienced. I think it is important that you have found this community and have reached out to share with others.

Unfortunately, I think many others experience similar feelings. My personal opinion is that recognition about the needs of survivors after cardiac arrest (by the medical system) is still in its infancy. More and more people are being resuscitated successfully but few resources are in place to help you, and others, deal with "returning to life/work/'normalcy'". Some research has been done to show that depression and anxiety are very common. You are not alone!

Finding a community on-line or near home to discuss and share is likely therapeutic. Your family may also need similar resources. Perhaps others within this forum have their own experiences to share with you as well?