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Husband's recent heart attack
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An_192909 posted:
This Monday my husband was air lifted out of our small town hospital to Washington Hospital Center because the doctors said he was having a heart attack. He had two blocked arteries and 3 stents put in. He spent one day in ICU and three additional days in the hospital. My husband is 67 and very active, playing tennis several times a week and working 60 hours a week. I want this to be a wake up call for him that he has to slow down. We have a teenage son who is on his way to his Freshman year in college in Indiana. We had planned to drive him this Friday (11 days after his heart attack). The trip should take about 12 hours. The problem is that my husband is refusing to stay home and rest -- he said that there is no way that he will miss saying goodbye to his son. What should I/we do?
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DUKE MEDICINE
Robert A Harrington, MD responded:
This is good question that raises some important issues. First, the most important thing that you and your husband should do is to have an open/honest conversation with his doctors (likely both the primary care and Washington Hospital Center doctors). You should encourage your husband to have this conversation as soon as possible so that the doctors have time to either get some additional testing if needed or to provide you advice that might require additional travel planning.

Second, one of the reasons that heart care has become so aggressive with things like stenting and surgery is so that patients can return to a level of activity that fits their lifestyle. As a cardiovascular community, we want patients to return to the things that they love to do (work, exercise, travel, etc) and not necessarily to "slow down." Now, we do want patients to take care of themselves through diet, exercise and medications. But we want to also encourage active lifestyles whenever possible.

The travel question is complex. Some of this will depend on any and the extent of heart damage. Some of it will depend on other health problems that your husband might have. And, some of it will depend on how the trip will be made (ie easy access to medical care if needed? ability to stop for a rest or a brief walk, etc).

Please talk with the doctors. My wife and I are bringing our youngest daughter to college next week. I wouldn't want to miss it either if at all possible.

Best of luck. Please let us know how things work out.

Bob H


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