Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Includes Expert Content
    Heart Functioning at 27%
    stephbutler002 posted:
    My dad was just told that his heart was functioning at 27% after he had a stress performed. What does this mean for his life expectancy? He has COPD, congestive heart failure, emphysema, and he is a smoker and drinker. He has had several mild heart attacks including two within the last year. He also had a pacemaker/definrilator put in April 2011. They told him at about that same time that half of his heart was not working. Please tell me how long my dad has. I am very scared/worried for him and doctors are not giving him any straight answers.
    James Beckerman, MD, FACC responded:
    I'm sorry that you don't feel like your dad is getting any straight answers.

    It is hard for doctors to predict life expectancy for any one person. But given his medical history, it sounds as though he has some serious medical conditions that are likely to cause him symptoms as time passes.

    My general attitude is to try to maximize quality of life as possible - I do think that quitting smoking and drinking could really improve his quality of life.
    stephbutler002 replied to James Beckerman, MD, FACC's response:
    I know it is difficult to say an exact life expectancy range, but what if he does not change his diet, keeps smoking/drinking, and does not take his medication. My dad is unwilling to change any of the above things. What do you think <1 year? 1-2 years? A ball park figure would help. I am trying to convince my dad that he needs to change his lifestyle if he wants to live.
    deadmanwalking57 replied to stephbutler002's response:

    Your Dad has the conviction that he IS LIVING with his current lifestyle, and to change he would be but a shell of a man, a wimp.
    He does not care about anything but his poisonous lifestyle, or change would be easy. You should not worry nor care about him, as I doubt it has significance to him.

    The good news is that HIS lifestyle is not genetic, and all of his problems are self-inflicted. You did not say how old he is, nor how old you are, nor whether or not you have shared any of his bad habits or for how long.

    You did not mention diet. Is that just as bad, too ? Or does he at least eat some or many healthy foods. A very healthy diet might be the one thing he is doing right, or the only one, and the one thing averting sudden death.

    You also did not mention how fast of a physical decline you have witnessed. Is he wheel chair bound, or still walking ? If walking, what is his usual walking speed ? The slower his normal walk, the closer he is to having nothing left, and a final sudden collapse. If wheel chair bound, refuse to buy him booze or smokes. Ignore him if he complains. He may be enjoying your hand wringing behavior.

    Ask him if he wants to make funeral plans, or he wants it all done after he drops dead. With his lack of interest in life, I would suggest the family waste as little money as possible on a funeral, and tell him he'll be cremated and his ashes dumped. Consider telling him that if he won't look after himself alive, there is no point throwing good money after bad once he has no say in the matter. That might prompt a change in his thinking. Or he may just think you are manning up. Tough Love. Refuse to enable his toxic habits.
    stephsugar replied to stephbutler002's response:
    I think DeadManWalking57 raises a good point, that your dad probably does think he is living with his current lifestyle. Because of that, it seems as though you need to be compassionate and understanding about what he is feeling. You need to understand how he defines life, and then start to ask him whether or not he wants to live. Hopefully, he wants to live a long full life, and if so, you can tell him that you will help him. But you can't help him if he won't help himself. But if you side with him, you might be able to do a sneak attack and convince him to live.

    I do agree with the dr. that the issue is not just length of life, that it's quality of life that should be the focus.
    sahasrangshu responded:

    It is really difficult to predict how many days your dad shall survive but as a doctor myself I can assure you that if he quits smoking and stops taking alcohol and follows diligently all the medicines and life style changes that his doctor has prescribed then he still has a chance to survive for quite sometime in a healthy condition.But as I said unforeseen circumstances are always unavoidable even with the best possible treatment.

    Thank you


    Dr.S.Gupta(from Calcutta).

    Helpful Tips

    Heart by pass
    Hi, just wanted to tell you I had triple heart bypass and entered a cardiac rehab program with exercises three times a week,heart ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Expert Blog

    The Heart Beat - James Beckerman, MD, FACC

    Dr. James Beckerman shares how small, livable lifestyle changes can have a real impact on your risk of heart attack and stroke...Read More

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health General and Consultative Heart Care Center