Susan Lucci feels “lucky to be alive” after undergoing emergency heart surgery in the fall.
The 72-year-old actress said in the Feb. 18 issue of People that she was “shocked” by her health scare and hospitalization in October.
Lucci recalled feeling a tightness in her chest twice in a two-week period, but said she dismissed her symptoms as fatigue. She was shopping Oct. 23 in Long Island when she suddenly couldn’t breathe.
“It felt like an elephant pressing down on my chest,” the star said.
A store manager brought Lucci to St. Francis Hospital, where the head of cardiology, Dr. Richard Shlofmitz, met her in the emergency room. She underwent a CT scan, which showed 90 percent blockage in her heart’s main artery and 70 percent blockage in another branch.
“Ninety percent blockage — I was shocked,” the actress said of the condition, which is often referred to as the “widow maker.” “I’m lucky to be alive.”
Lucci underwent surgery to have two stents inserted in her arteries. Her cardiologist, Holly Andersen, said the former All My Children star could have “suffered a significant heart attack” without the procedure.
Lucci also shared her experience during Wednesday’s episode of Good Morning America. She urged women to make their health a priority.
“I think that we are so busy, in a good way, nurturing the people we love in our family — we are not on our own to-do list,” the actress said.
“You just need to listen to your symptoms and act on them,” she added.
Lucci is known for playing Erica Kane on the ABC soap opera All My Children. She also portrayed Genevieve Delatour on Devious Maids and competed in Dancing with the Stars Season 7.