After a heart attack – what happens now?

After a heart attack – what happens now?
June 23 06:06 2017 by admin Print This Article

“Heart attack kills one person every 33 seconds in India” – Times of India.

A heart attack can be painful and very frightening. Most people prefer to live under the illusion that it won’t happen to them… until it does.

Heart attack can be traumatic for the entire family. The good news is that many people go on to recover from their first heart attack and continue to live a normal, fruitful life. However, it is important to keep in mind that your body has given you a warning sign, and make appropriate changes in your life and lifestyle.

Recovery from heart attack depends on its severity and how quickly you receive treatment for it. But once you are back home from the hospital, it is absolutely important that you plan and adhere to a heart healthy lifestyle – to prevent further attacks in future.

Heart Attack – the Golden Hour 

the Golden Hour

The first 60 minutes after a heart attack are absolutely critical. If the patient receives critical medical care within 2 – 4 hours permanent muscle damage can be prevented. Any delay beyond 6 hours may result in permanent muscle damage. But if the delay is over 12 hours, then the damage may be irreversible. The lesson here is to recognise symptoms of a heart attack and get to a hospital as soon as possible.

Recognizing the symptoms of heart attack 

The signs and symptoms for men and women differ. The most common symptom among men is chest pain, while women may experience some other common symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

symptoms of heart attack

So, what does one do after they have had a heart attack?

Usually, after a heart attack, you would be in hospital for a few days for monitoring. When the doctor deems that you are fit to leave, you will be given medication, advised on lifestyle changes, and routine follow up tests will be done.

It isn’t unusual to go through myriad emotions after having a heart attack. Many people, once they’re back home go through feelings of fear, depression and anxiety. You may do too. This might make it harder for you to make the lifestyle changes that the doctor has advised you to. Don’t ignore these feelings. Deal with them by talking to your loved ones and seek professional help if necessary.

What happens at the hospital? 

  • Depending on how severe the attack is, you may be in hospital for 3-5 days.
  • The first 48 hours are critical and at Kauvery Hospital, the patient is admitted into a Coronary Care Unit that is equipped with specialized equipment and a highly trained and experienced critical care team.
  • Heart function and other vital parameters like blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol will be closely monitored.
  • If the patient stabilizes then he/she is shifted to a ward and monitored for the next few days. It is advisable to completely avoid or limit the number of visitors at this time.
  • The family member present with the patient must provide the necessary emotional support and strictly comply and cooperate with the doctors and care professionals.
  • The caregiver must also be alert and observe the patient for any recurring symptoms – and immediately alert the nurse or support staff in case something is amiss.

Discharge and home care 

  • Do not hesitate to ask questions and clarify all your doubts
  • Make sure you understand the medication routine (for both new and regular medicines)
  • Rest at home for the first few days. Appoint a care professional if you feel it is necessary
  • Ensure that you thoroughly understand the discharge summary
  • After 3 weeks, you may gradually increase the duration of your walks and do non intensive chores around the house like making tea, cooking, washing dishes etc.
  • After the 4th week, you may gradually increase the intensity of your activities like light gardening, longer walks and swimming – after confirming with your doctor.

Lifestyle changes 

  • Incorporate more fibre into your diet.
  • Include more whole wheat grains, peas and pulses.
  • Include fruits such as pears, and citrus fruits and melons. If you are diabetic you could opt for fruits with lower sugar content like apples, berries and sweet lime.
  • Consume more high fibre vegetables, have salads with sprouts every day with your meal. Try to include more carrots and broccoli in your diet.
  • Add more fenugreek seeds in your meals as it helps to contain cholesterol levels.
  • Restrict intake of salt.
  • In you are a non-vegetarian, avoid red meat, try to include fish in your meals 2-3 times a week.

Your doctor will probably advise you to seek the help of a nutritionist who will give you a heart healthy diet to follow.

Opt for the Kauvery Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation program 

  • You will be asked to exercise using a treadmill, bike rowing machine or walking/jogging track. You will be monitored for any change in symptoms by a healthcare professional.
  • Start slowly, under medical supervision. Eventually, you will be strong enough for strength training.
  • By doing this scientifically and under supervision, you can reduce the risk of another heart attack, lose weight, resume normal activities and eat better.

Do’s and Don’ts of medicines 

  • Take your prescribed medicines as directed by your doctor.
  • Check expiry dates when buying OTC medicines.
  • Read the label on your medicine’s container.
  • Do not discontinue any medicine, even if you feel better, without first consulting the doctor.
  • When in doubt, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist about how to store your medicines

With a positive outlook, dedicated effort and lifestyle modifications, it is possible to recover from a heart attack. Our team of experts is always there to help you.

For queries/appointments, please call: 044 4000 6000

Schedule an appointment

(Article modified on February 14, 2022)


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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  1. Sunaina Sharma
    November 24, 23:23 #1 Sunaina Sharma

    The first line, “Heart attack kills one person every 33 seconds in India” – Times of India, is such a shocker! Thank you for this blog!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Priya
    December 27, 12:27 #2 Priya

    Important article that everyone should check out.

    Reply to this comment

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