How soon can you work after a heart attack?

Kippys asked...

My partner is a taxi driver who had a heart attack 6 weeks ago. Can you tell me how long it is before he can go back to work? What is the procedure for doing so? Does his doctor have to say he is fit enough?

Expert Answer

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.

We are sorry to hear about your partner's heart attack. The time people are out of work following a heart attack can vary. Many times it depends upon the treatment that was done for the heart attack-for example, was an angioplasty done or stent placed, was there bypass surgery,etc. The type of work a person does is also taken ito consideration-the number of hours, lifing, and stress level.

Generally, people that have had a heart attack, without having bypass surgery, can return to work within a few weeks, but it does usually depend upon the cardiologist or healthcare provider giving the clearance.

As far as the procedure for returning, I would contact the place of employment and ask if they require anything in writing from the physician before returning to work. Some companies require this, especially if diability time was utilized.

The best bet is for your partner to call his/her place of employment and find out what their requirements are for return to work and then make a follow-up appointment with the healthcare provider to discuss when a return to work is possible and have them complete any necessary paperwork. Even if your partner's job doesn't require anything in writing, it is still recommended the healthcare provider give the clearance.