Heart Attack and Unstable Angina - End-of-Life Decisions
If your condition gets worse, you
may want to think about
palliative care. This is care for
people who have illnesses that do not go away and often get worse over time. It
is different than care to cure your illness.
Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life—not just in your
body, but also in your mind and spirit. Some people combine palliative care
with curative care.
For more information, see the
Treatment for a
heart attack is increasingly successful at prolonging
life and reducing complications and hospitalization. But a heart attack can
lead to problems that get worse over time, such as
heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
It can be hard to have talks with your
doctor and family about the end of your life. But making these decisions now
may bring you and your family peace of mind. Your family won't have to wonder
what you want. And you can spend your time focusing on your
You will need to decide if you want
life-support measures if your health gets very bad. An
advance directive is a legal document that
tells doctors how to care for you at the end of your life.
You also can say where you want to have care. And you can name
someone who can make sure your wishes are followed.
For more information, see:
Your doctor may
talk to you about your desire to be revived (resuscitated) if your heart stops
pumping and you are unable to breathe on your own.
- Advance Care Planning: Should I Receive CPR and Life Support?