Discharge Instructions for Heart Attack

Discharge Instructions for Heart Attack

You have had a heart attack. Also known as acute myocardial infarction, or AMI, a heart attack occurs when a vessel supplying the heart with blood suddenly becomes blocked. Follow these guidelines for home care and lifestyle changes.

Home Care

  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

  • Remember that recovery after a heart attack takes time. Plan to rest for at least 4-8 weeks while you recover. Then return to normal activity when your doctor says it’s okay.

  • Ask your doctor about joining a heart rehabilitation program.

  • Tell your doctor if you are feeling depressed. Feelings of sadness are common after a heart attack, but it is important that you speak to someone if you are feeling overwhelmed by these feelings.

  • If you are having chest pain, call 911 for an ambulance. Do NOT drive yourself to the hospital.

  • Ask your family members to learn CPR.

  • Learn to take your own blood pressure and pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor when you should seek emergency medical attention. He or she will tell you which blood pressure reading is dangerous.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Get help to lose any extra pounds.

  • Cut back on salt.

    • Limit canned, dried, packaged, and fast foods.

    • Don’t add salt to your food.

    • Season foods with herbs instead of salt when you cook.

  • Break the smoking habit. Enroll in a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success.

  • Limit fatty foods.

  • Check your lipid levels regularly. (Your doctor can show you how to do this.)

  • Build up your activity according to your doctor’s recommendation.

  • Ask your doctor when it’s okay to resume sexual activity.

  • Tell your doctor about any erectile dysfunction (ED) medication you are taking. Some ED medications are not safe if you take certain heart medications.

  • Try to manage stress.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to Seek Medical Attention

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Chest pain that is not relieved by medication.

  • Shortness of breath.

Otherwise, call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.

  • Feeling of irregular heartbeat or fast pulse.