What's the prognosis for someone who had a heart attack and pacemaker installation before a CHF diagnosis?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Hoggers asked...

Two months ago I had a heart attack and lost one third of my left ventricle plus some valve damage. I am an 80 year-old male. The attack was silent due to diabetic neuropathy. A few days later, after accumulation of fluid in my lungs and respiratory distress sent me to the emergency room where I was hospitalised, a diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF) was made and a pacemaker was put in. What is my prognosis AFTER having had a heart attack before a diagnosis & pace maker installation?

Expert Answers

Carolyn Strimike, N.P. and Margie Latrella, N.P. are cardiac nurse practitioners specializing in the prevention of heart disease and stroke. They have over 40 years of nursing experience in Cardiology between them. The main goal of their work is to counsel, motivate and empower women to adopt healthy lifestyle choices.

After a heart attack unfortunately it is common to develop a weakening of the heart muscle which can lead to congestive heart failure. The pacemaker will help maintain a regular heart rate. We have taken care of many people who have had heart attacks developed heart failure and had pacemakers put in. The prognosis depends on the degree of damage to the heart muscle but can be very good with close monitoring and adjustments of medications. You should also be avoiding excess salt/sodium and limiting fluids. Daily weights can help you monitor your fluid status. If you gain more than 2 to 3 pounds in a day or more than 5 pounds per week you should contact your physician. Salt/sodium should be restricted to less than 2,000 mg per day. Excess fluid and salt can lead to further congestion and weakening of the heart muscle. Visit http://www.abouthf.org/education_modules.htm for free educational material about managing heart failure. You need to take an active role in your care and discuss any concerns/questions with your cardiologist. Also check your local hospital for heart failure support groups which can be very helpful.