My dad has had a heart attack

My dad is 66.  11 days ago he collapsed while out with his running club.  He had had a heart attack.  This came completely out of the blue because from June 2007 for a year he had been taking part in his own personal challenge - to run 65 races to celebrate his 65th birthday.  He had not long completed the challenge when he had his heart attack.

He's very fit, lean, a non-smoker, hardly drinks (1 unit a month if that!), does not eat any meat and eats a very virtuous, low-fat diet.  In spite of this, his GP had been monitoring his cholesterol level for a few years, which although slightly raised, was not worth doing anything about - according to them.  Similarly, he had just been found to have slightly raised blood pressure which was odd given his physical condition - nothing too much to worry about but he was put on some tablets, which as well as lowering blood pressure were also designed to help him stop wee-ing all night long (which is what he went to the GP for in the first place!.)

Anyway, his heart attack appears to have been caused by hereditary factors (cholesterol and BP only at the upper end of normal).  He had to have a stent put in as an emergency immediately after his attack because of the blockage of one of his arteries which they couldn't clear through drugs.  Although he's now out of hospital, we still don't know the full extent of the damage to his heart because he is still waiting for an echo-cardiogram.  His own GP suggested that, because he had collapsed at the time of his heart attack, there may have been complications - ie it was more than 'just' a heart attack, but no-one in his cardiac care team said anything about that.

He's due to be seeing a rehabilitation nurse next week.  Does anyone who has been there or who is involved in cardiac care have any suggestions as to the sort of thing which he should be aiming for in his rehabilitation?  He will obviously make it known to the nurse that he wants to get back running when it's appropriate, but we obviously don't know enough yet to say when this might be. 

Any tales of recovery which might spur him on?  I think he's very slowly coming to terms with what has happened to him.  Up until a couple of weeks ago when this happened, he was doing 30+ miles a week and feeling fine. 


  • No answer in relation to the rehab CM, but i wish him well.
  • no idea on the rehab, sorry.  But best wishes and good luck with it to your dad!

     For the questions about the "complications" that the GP referred to, but the cardiac care team didn't may need to ask specifically.  Often the medics forget they haven't updated the family, or don't know how much you already know.  Your dad may have to give permission for them to talk to you, or if you get a sensible doctor or senior nurse, they'll often help you understand what's going on.

    The hospital will also write a letter to the GP on discharge, so you/he could also get the information from the GP later.

    Failing that, he is legally allowed to see his medical notes....though good luck reading the writing and understanding the medic-ese!

  • Caramel

    just wish him well from Mick n Phil  please - we are thinking of you all

  • hiya

    I am wondering where Buney is, this is her field

    erm , well, all i will say is that the standard cardiac rehab may need to be tailored for him, as most people on cardiac rehab done exdercise as much as that

    as for tales of recovery-lookno furthe r  thatnranulph fiennes-7 maras in 7 days


    Just make sure he states where he usually is, and what jhe neds to get back to

  • Send your dad best wishes for his recovery CM. That's a really crappy thing to happen to such a fit bloke. Hope he's back out there in due course!
  • My Dad had a heart attack 13 years ago, and he wasn't anywhere near as fit as yours is although he has always been a keen walker. He actually collapsed whilst out walking, and had to be shocked back to life (defib.......not sure on techincal terms) Initially he wasn't given a very good outlook, but he's 79 this year, still here and still walking (albeit a bit slower now!)

    The best of luck to your Dad with his rehab, I'm sure his fitness has already made an enormous difference to his health and will do when he's getting back to normal life.

  • Very best wishes to your Dad.  Perhaps you could just cite Sir Ranulph Fiennes as an example of an ultra healthy person who had a heart attack, but is still doing amazing things.
  • CM, the cardiac rehab your dad undergoes at the hospital might seem basic compared to his previous activity levels. Depending on the set up there, they may do a personal programme with him, or just get him through to phase IV.

    When he's discharged I suggest you or your dad contacts a gym with staff trained in cardiac rehabilitation (Wright Foundation qualification is the basic entry level). This trainer can then work on a 1-2-1 basis with your dad, safely, and understanding that a cardiac episode doesn't mean the end of serious exercise / activity in the future.

    Knowledge of the psychological aspects of cardiac recovery is helpful too, as this is an area overlooked by some trainers.

    Sometimes there's documentation that needs doing with the patient's GP / hospital depending on the referral process for this type of consultation with a gym - stuff like bp, resting heart rate, medications, recommendations re exercise.

    All the best image

  • many thanks guys.  he's already back to slow walking a couple of times a day - about an hour in total today which i reckon may be a bit ambitious but he seems to be coping with it!
  • Hi there all. I am he! My daughter Caramel told me that she had posted an enquiry regarding my situation on this forum. I'm pleased to say that at the moment I am feeling pretty damned good. I see the Cardiac Rehab Nurse tomorrow and we will see what she has to say about it all.

    I do belong to a gym locally which has trained personnel who deal with stroke victims as well as other people with physical disabilities, so that could be a possible line back to fitness.

    Whatever, it is my intention, after taking the necessary advice, to get back out there on the road again. 

    Many thanks to you all for your comments and encouragement as well as your best wishes.


  • Hi B, great to see you're feeling better!  I work with a fellow IS runner who told me you'd been ill.

    Hope to see you next year at Sam Penny with your'll be me you're sweeping home image

  • Hi Kwilter waddler and proud

    Thanks for your message, I hope to be able to 'brush' up on my running again soon and to be to sweep around many other races before next years Sam Penny! 

  • Hello B-Hopper, glad to hear you're feeling good.  Enjoy the road back to running image
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