By Anonymous
A Personal Story of Heart Attack from a friend who wants to share


I thought of sharing my recent experience with all of you with the hope
that you could gain something from it. Note the symptoms and warning
signs that i will be relating. Suspecting that your are getting heart
attack and making your way as fast as possible to the hospital, I think,
is the key to surviving it.

So here is my story...

It was late Saturday night and I was watching a documentary on Nat. Geo.
Everyone had gone to bed hours earlier. My wife had been preparing to
leave for her one week trip to Institute Aminuddin Baki at Genting
Highland the next morning.

It started with pain around the shoulder region spreading to the arms.
My neck felt very uncomfortable.  It's something I always get whenever I
sit in a weird position for an extended time (in this case I am sitting
where the TV is on my right side so I have to turn my head when
watching) or I also gets it after hours in front of the computer. So I
though, it's because of the way I was sitting that causes it but I had
only sat there for about 10 minutes. Earlier, I was sitting comfortable
with the TV straight. So I decided I should just go to bed. After all
its already about 1:30 in the morning. Normally, lying flat on the bed
helps as I have done so many times after sitting for hours in front of a

Just as I was going up the stairs, I started to feel a little dizzy and
my stomach feels weird and warm. When I got in the bedroom, the a/c was
on and it was quite cool. I lie down on the bed. Minutes later I started
to sweat- cold sweat. The sweating was so bad that it started dripping
from my head and the back of my ears. My stomach feels like I have eaten
too much (I did not really ate a lot that just felt that
way).  It feels as if it I am having a bad case of indigestion and
heartburn. Minutes later  I started to feel like I am going to puke..
It's the same feeling when you get a severe headache, sweat and feels
like you are going to vomit (but this time no headache).

I got up, went downstairs and grab myself minyak cap limau. I always
keep this handy for stomach discomfort or "angin". The sweating is
getting worst and as I sat on the sofa, sweat started to drip on to the
floor. There was so much of it that my shirt is all wet so I took it off
and put my shirt on the floor where the sweat was dripping.

I drank a glass of warm water and decided to go back to the bedroom. The
dizziness is still there. My arms felt numb all the way to my fingers. I
thought if I could get some sleep then all of these would go away. So I
lie down on the bed. I was so sleepy that in between awake and sleep I
could tune to my heart beat. It sounded weird, irregular. At this point
my breathing was very heavy. The warm in my stomach feels like its
moving up to the chest area.

I keep thinking and trying to figure out what was going on. Is it just
"angin" or indigestion or is it due to food poisoning.

I got up, went to the toilet and tried to make myself puke but couldn't.
So I came back into the bedroom and sits at the edge of the bed.. My
face was already very pale, I feel very tired and the sweating was still
very bad, dripping on the floor . Still sitting on the edge of the bed
and feeling very tired and sleepy, I remember asking my sister in law a
year earlier about the symptoms she had when she had a heart attack and
it seems all the symptoms are there. I still could not believe that I am
having a heart attack.

About half an hour had passed and I am still about 50-50 whether to wake
up and inform my wife. Then I thought...if this is really a heart
attack, then I could die tonight.  I thought of my lovely wife and my
kids and finally decided to wake my wife up and inform her what is going
on.. She was surprised to see my shirt was all wet and my face very pale
and sweat dripping. I told her that the symptom I am having is very much
like the one her sister had told me and that we should go to hospital.

It only took us about 15 minutes to make it to the hospital. When we
arrived at the emergency ward, I could barely walk. I was so tired and
was having difficulty breathing. I was immediately asked to lie down and
an ECG was performed. An oxygen tube was placed in my nostril and I can
see nurses and hospital assistants running towards me. At this point the
pain had spread to the jaw and teeth.

The nurses started to poke my wrist and the back of my hands with
needles. A drip was connected to my right arm while at the same time a
machine that controls a small bottle of medicine was injected on my left
hand. I was asked to  place a small tablet of medicine under my tongue.

Half an hour later the sweating stops and it feels a little better. In
the meantime, my wife who was still waiting outside was still not
informed of what had happened to me. It was 2 hours later that she
started to inquire what is happening and she was told that I had
suffered a major heart attack.

After completing two bottles of drips, I was then pushed into the ICU.
ECG/EKG was performed every half an hour for the rest of the night as
well as throughout the next day. When the doctor came in the morning, I
was informed that I had suffered a major heart attack.

On  the scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means alive and 10 means dead, the
doctor asked me where I think I stood. I thought for awhile and said
6.5. He said no and said that it was actually about a 9.5. I was so
shocked. The doctor then started to give me a cardio 101 lesson and
explained that they had injected me with the strongest clot busting drug
in the world when I arrived. Clot buster thins the blood and helped to
ensure blood continue to flow but does not really solve the blockage

I suppose the clot buster is almost similar to the chemical we use in
our kitchen sink when it gets clogged.

After 4 days in ICU I was confirmed stable and plans were being made to
move me for further observation in the general ward. An appointment was
made with the heart specialist in Penang GH but I had to queue for about
a month before I could even see the doctor and performing an
angiogram/angioplasty would then take another couple of months.

I decided I do not want to wait and asked the doctor whether I could be
transferred to a private hospital. The doctor was very helpful and
recommended a specialist for me at the KPJ hospital in Bandar Perda. He
called up the doctor (Dr Safari) and make arrangements to send me there.

When I arrived at about 7pm, Doctor Safari greeted me. He said I was
very lucky and that the fast action of going to the hospital saved me.
He then scheduled for an angiogram and also an angioplasty immediately
the next morning. An angiogram is to see how bad the clot was and where
it is. It is also to determine the condition of the other coronary
arteries (there are 3 main ones). A balloon angioplasty is to clear the
blockage in the artery thus allowing blood to flow again.

The procedure took several hours with only little pain and discomfort.
Although the procedure is safer than an open heart surgery, it is still
dangerous and could be life threatening.  A flexible catheter is
injected into the groin artery and then guided  all the way up to the
heart.. Then a dye was injected and on the x-ray screen you could
determine where the blockage was. I still have an 80% blockage (the clot
buster I guess managed to clear about 20% which helped to allow blood to
flow back into my heart. It did not resolve the problem in whole).  Was
told that when a blood flow to the heart is blocked, any portion of the
heart that did not get enough blood and oxygen would then die off,
permanently. This then causes the heart to be weak and disrupt its
efficiency. Mine was considered a major because the clog happens in the
main artery which could damage a huge portion of the heart below it.

Once the blockage is determined, a small balloon is inflated to push the
clogs against the artery walls and a drug coated stent (a sort of wire
mesh tube) is placed to ensure the arteries do not collapse again. When
the balloon is deflated and removed, the stent stays and overtime would
become part of the coronary artery. The stent is treated with some types
of drugs to prevent a recurrence of abnormal narrowing due to further
clotting of the blood since it is made of metal and it attracts blood
platelet to stick to it. I was not able to walk or even move my right
leg the first 6 hours after the procedure. I spent another day in the
hospital and was released the next day with a month long MC.

So what were the symptoms again?

1.       Pain around neck and shoulder region and spreading to the
arms(in my case it was the left arm).

2.       Feeling of indigestion and/or heartburn. Feel warm in the
stomach that slowly moves up to the chest.

3.       Pressure, fullness or pain in the center of the chest

4.       Sudden weakness, dizziness, fainting, sweating, nausea or
shortness of breath

Some people (men) have the classic symptoms of severe pain in the chest
(feels like someone is squeezing your heart) but I only felt a little
pain when I was already in hospital. The above 4 symptoms however,
should be generally true to heart attacks in both men and women.

If you suspect you are getting a heart attack.  Go quickly to the
hospital. Every second counts