The first time Susan Lucci needed heart surgery was around three years ago, but she didn't expect to have the same symptoms that led her there again this year. This time, the diagnosis was equally severe.
In the fan-favorite series, "All My Children," most people know Susan Lucci, 75, as the diva Erica Kane. Besides acting, the star later became an advocate for women's heart health after having her first heart surgery in 2019.
That same year, the actress was one of the guests at the American Heart Association's event in New York. She also took it up a notch by becoming the association's ambassador.
Susan Lucci speaking about her second heart surgery on "Good Morning America" on February 14, 2022. | Source: YouTube/Good Morning America
"I FEEL LUCKY TO BE ALIVE"
Lucci first felt a tightness in her chest in the fall of 2018 but took it lightly, thinking it was just tiredness. The star initially thought nothing about it and didn't worry as she anticipated that it would go away, and it did.
Susan Lucci discusses her upcoming comedy show "Celebrity Autobiography" at Build Studio on March 2, 2018, in New York City. | Source: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
However, her battle wasn't done just yet. About ten days later, the star felt the same pain again, but this time it was "radiating around my rib cage," and she brushed it off for the second time.
This time she reasoned that she might've fastened her bra too tightly. Shockingly, Lucci experienced the tightness again on October 23, 2018, but the pain was more noticeable and severe this time.
Susan Lucci at the Adapt Leadership Awards Gala on March 8, 2018, in New York City. | Source: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
The store manager reacted by offering to drive Lucci to St. Francis Hospital. While traveling, the actress called the hospital's Head of Cardiology, Dr. Richard Shlofmitz, and he told her to meet him in the ER.
She underwent a CT scan and was informed she had 90% blockage in her heart's main artery, which is called "the widow maker." On top of that, the star also had 70% blockage in another branch.
Shlofmitz gave her heart surgery by inserting two stents into her arteries. The stents were meant to increase blood flow back to Lucci's heart, and if she hadn't gone straight to the hospital, the consequences might've been dire.
Holly Andersen, her cardiologist, said the actress might've died or suffered a significant heart attack. The iconic star was shocked that doctors found such a vast and life-threatening result, noting:
“I’m lucky to be alive.”
OPENING UP ABOUT HER SURGERY
In February 2022, Lucci revealed that she'd chosen to speak up about her harrowing experience to encourage other women to take the necessary precautions about their health. She urged them to listen to their hearts and be their own best friends and advocates.
When Lucci lay down she felt a sharp pain in her jaw that came and went.
Susan Lucci backstage during The American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection on February 7, 2019, in New York City. | Source: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
She explained that she chose to become an advocate because she wanted to do more than entertain. The star became vocal about the cause and attended the 2019 American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection event.
While walking the runway the event, the soap opera actress caught the eye of the media when she fell and landed on her bottom. Lucci took the incident in her stride by laughing it off before standing up and finishing her walk!
LIVING HEALTHY AND LOOKING YOUNG
Having the health scare led the actress to re-evaluate her life. In January 2022, Lucci told Fox News that she'd started taking part in Pilates workout six days a week and was eating healthier.
She also changed her diet and ate a Mediterranean-style diet that included fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish. Her diet contributed to her having a youthful look despite being closer to 80 years, and she also started tuning in more into her spirituality.
"THIS IS CRAZY"
However, her lifestyle changes couldn't prevent what happened earlier this year, but she survived to continue bringing awareness about heart health. Lucci sadly began experiencing the same symptoms she felt three years ago and told "Good Morning America" that she thought to herself:
"'This is crazy.’”
The actress said she couldn't believe what was happening! She was experiencing shortness of breath, and soon enough, the star started feeling discomfort around her back and ribcage, just like she did all those years back.
When Lucci lay down, she felt a sharp pain in her jaw that came and went. She recently underwent a successful emergency heart procedure again after experiencing an 80% blockage in one of her arteries because of plaque buildup.
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