When You Visit Your Doctor - After a Heart Attack

After a Heart Attack

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Have you had chest pain or pressure since you were discharged from the hospital?
  • How severe is it?
  • How long does it last?
  • Does it stay in your chest or radiate to other parts of your body?
  • Did you have this pain before your heart attack? What brings it on? How frequently do you get it?
  • What were you doing just prior to the chest pain?
  • Do you ever get chest pain or pressure at rest?
  • What relieves the chest pain?
  • If you take nitroglycerin, how many doses do you usually need to take before the pain goes away?
  • How often do you take nitroglycerin?
  • Do you get short of breath when you lie down or exert yourself?
  • Do you awaken in the middle of the night short of breath?
  • Do your ankles swell?
  • Do you ever feel lightheaded?
  • Have you fainted?
  • Do you get rapid or pounding heartbeat for no reason?
  • Do you know what each of the medications you are taking does?
  • Do you know the side effects of each medication?
  • Are you having any side effects?
  • Are you taking an aspirin every day?
  • Are you doing everything you can to modify the risk factors that can worsen your coronary artery disease (cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are the most important risk factors)?
  • Are you participating in a supervised exercise program?
  • Are you resuming your normal activities?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Have you returned to work?
  • Have you been feeling depressed since your heart attack?
  • Have you been able to reduce the stress in your life?
  • Have you been fatigued?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Heart rate, blood pressure, and weight
  • Pulses in your wrist, groin, and feet
  • Listen over the major arteries in the neck, groin, and feet (for abnormal noises)
  • Look at the veins in the neck to see if there is extra fluid in your body
  • Heart and lungs
  • Ankles and legs (for swelling)

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Blood tests for glucose, lipid panel (cholesterol levels) and C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Exercise stress test

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