SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Before you leave hospital, talk with your health professionals to make a plan for your care and recovery after your heart attack.
- Speak with your doctor about attending cardiac rehabilitation to help your recovery.
- Make sure you follow your recovery plan after you leave hospital.
- Take all your medicines exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
- Keep your appointments with doctors and other health professionals after leaving hospital.
- Ask your doctor when you can start everyday activities such as physical activity, travel, driving and work.
Recovering from a heart attack
Your hospital stay after a heart attack
Once you go to hospital, your doctors will decide what treatment you need. The treatments you have will influence your recovery. For example, surgery will affect when you are able to do some activities, such as driving or lifting heavier items.
Other treatments you may need after your heart attack can include:
- – a procedure to open a blocked artery using a tiny device called a stent that is left in place in the artery
- – an operation in which blood vessels from other parts of your body are grafted to bypass the blocked arteries to your heart
Before leaving hospital, speak with your health professionals about how – and when – you can go back to doing your everyday activities.
Leaving hospital after a heart attack
When you leave hospital, make sure you have:
- supplies of your medicines. Make sure you also know what each one is for, and how and when to take them
- an in case you have a future medical emergency
- times for appointments with outpatient clinics, specialist doctors, your doctor and other health professionals
- instructions on how to care for your wounds if you had surgery
- you can make to reduce your chance of future heart problems such as a heart attack
- a referral to a .
Make sure you follow your plan when you leave hospital, take your medicines as prescribed, and keep all your appointments with your health professionals.
After you leave hospital:
- visit your doctor (GP) as often as they recommend – take your medical test results, treatment information and all the medicines you are taking, so your doctor can help you manage your long-term health
- keep any appointments with other specialists or health professionals
- follow a healthy eating pattern by
- look after your body – follow your doctor’s instructions for wound care
- begin – with your doctor’s advice, you can safely begin gentle exercise
- look after your mental health – people who’ve had a heart attack are more likely to experience the symptoms of than the general population. Speak with your doctor if you feel sad most of the time for more than two weeks
- you should receive a referral to a cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) program near you. or ask your doctor for a referral.
- if you smoke, . The most effective way to stop smoking is with a combination of support from (Tel. ) and stop-smoking medicines such as nicotine replacement therapy.
Returning to everyday activities after a heart attack
Most people are keen to get back to their everyday lives, so ask your doctor when you can start your normal daily activities again. Things to consider include:
- – make sure you have a seat in buses, trains or cars in the early days after your heart attack
- – you may need a medical clearance form, so ask your doctor before you plan air travel
- – ask your doctor about when you will be able to drive again. Ask your car insurance company if there is any impact of your heart attack on your insurance or driver’s licence
- – on your doctor’s advice, begin gentle walking and slowly build up
- – ask your doctor when it’s safe to have sex. If you have had surgery, your doctor may advise you to wait until your wound has healed
- – most people can go back to work after having a heart attack, but if you have had surgery, it may take a little longer until you are ready. If you have a physical or stressful job, ask your doctor whether you need to have lighter duties.
Cardiac rehab is a program of support, exercise and education that is led by health professionals and personalised to strengthen your heart.
Cardiac rehab gives you information, support and advice to help you recover after a heart attack, surgery or procedure. You will learn more about long-term lifestyle changes that will help you live well with your heart condition and reduce your risk of having another heart attack.
Cardiac rehab helps you to adjust to life with a heart condition by providing support to:
- manage your
- manage other health conditions, such as high , high and
- recognise the and what to do in an emergency
- make healthy lifestyle choices, such as following a , drinking less , being and
- return to activities of daily living, such as , and going on holidays.
Cardiac rehab can be delivered:
- individually or in a group
- through a mobile application (app), over the phone or via video call
- in hospital, a community centre, clinic or your home.