Arnold Schwarzenegger, 76, reveals he had a pacemaker fitted last week – following three open heart surgeries

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Written By Maya Cantina

Arnold Schwarzenegger has revealed he had a pacemaker fitted last Monday after previously having three open heart surgeries.

The 76-year-old said he now has a ‘machine part’, just like his Terminator character – and has said he will have to take a break from the gym.

He said on his podcast Arnold’s Pump Club, released on Monday: ‘Last Monday, I had surgery to become a little bit more of a machine: I got a pacemaker.

‘I have to tell you, just saying this to all of you goes against so much of my upbringing in Austria, where nobody — ever — talked about medical issues. Everything related to healthcare was kept to yourself.

‘But I’ve gotten so many messages and emails from people who were born with a bicuspid aortic valve, like me, telling me that talking about my valve replacement surgeries has given them courage and hope to deal with their own.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, 76, (left) has revealed he had a pacemaker last Monday  – he attended this environmental event just four days later alongside Jane Fonda and was feeling well  

Action-man Arnold has had three open heart surgeries in the past and shared this picture from his hospital bed in 2020

Action-man Arnold has had three open heart surgeries in the past and shared this picture from his hospital bed in 2020 

‘So, since I know that going against my secretive instinct and being transparent helps people, what choice do I have?’

Arnold reassured his fans that he is recovering well, saying: ‘First of all, I want you to know I’m doing great!

‘I had my surgery on Monday, and by Friday, I was already at a big environmental event with my friend and fellow fitness crusader Jane Fonda. 

‘By the way, when we talk about exercise being the only magic pill to slow down aging, look at Jane. She’s ten years older than me, turning 87 this year!

‘Nobody would ever have thought I started the week with a surgery.

‘I want to thank my whole team at the Cleveland Clinic. All of the doctors and nurses took amazing care of me and made the surgery as painless as possible.

He continued; ‘They also advised me that it was time to go through with this because some scar tissue from my previous surgery had made my heartbeat irregular. 

‘It had been like that for a few years, so I stayed in touch with my medical team and visited in person at least once a year to get a full check-up and see how my heart was doing.

The 76-year-old said he now has a 'machine part', just like his Terminator character

The 76-year-old said he now has a ‘machine part’, just like his Terminator character

The movie star has said he will have to take a break from the gym while he continues to recover

The movie star has said he will have to take a break from the gym while he continues to recover 

Austrian Bodybuilder Arnold pictured lifting weights at Muscle Beach in Venice in August 1977 in Los Angeles, California

Austrian Bodybuilder Arnold pictured lifting weights at Muscle Beach in Venice in August 1977 in Los Angeles, California

 ‘That’s life with a genetic heart issue. But you won’t hear me complaining.’

Arnold had his aortic valve replaced in Cleveland, Ohio in 2020, to go with his new pulmonary valve that he had inserted in April 2018 in LA. 

In 1997, he underwent elective heart surgery to replace a defective, congenital aortic heart valve.

When the aortic valve is not working properly, ‘it can interfere with blood flow and force the heart to work harder to send blood to the rest of the body’. 

According to webmd, ‘Aortic valve repair and aortic valve replacement are procedures that treat diseases affecting the aortic valve, one of four valves that control blood flow through the heart.’

The aortic valve helps keep blood flowing in the correct direction through the heart, the site added.

It separates the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) and the main artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to your body (aorta), webmd further explained.

And feeling grateful, Arnold said: ‘My mother and her mother’s bicuspid valves killed them. I’m still here because of medical innovation and being very diligent about staying in touch with my doctors and listening to them.

‘My mom refused to have the valve replacement surgery. But back then, the only option was open-heart. Today, they’re replacing valves with non-invasive procedures where you can go home the same day.

‘I had my valves replaced for the first time in 1997, which required open-heart surgery. They told me both valves would last 12 to 15 years. Dr. Starnes did a wonderful job, and they made it 21 years, so by the time I went in for replacement in 2018, the non-invasive option was available. 

WHAT IS AORTIC VALVE REPAIR?

According to webmd, ‘aortic valve repair and aortic valve replacement are procedures that treat diseases affecting the aortic valve, one of four valves that control blood flow through the heart.’

The aortic valve helps keep blood flowing in the correct direction through the heart, the site added.

It separates the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) and the main artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to your body (aorta), webmd further explained.

‘With each contraction of the ventricle, the aortic valve opens and allows blood to flow from the left ventricle into the aorta. When the ventricle relaxes, the aortic valve closes to prevent blood from flowing backward into the ventricle,’ it was shared. 

Aortic valve repair or aortic valve replacement can restore normal blood flow and aid the heart muscle.

 Information courtesy of webmd

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‘Of course, you know that there was a little screwup at the hospital in Los Angeles, and my non-invasive surgery became open-heart. I told that story and shared footage here in this newsletter.

He added: ‘They only replaced one of the two valves, so I headed to the Cleveland Clinic in 2020 and did the other one. This time, the non-invasive Transcatheter valve replacement worked!

‘But with all of those surgeries, my doctors told me it was more important than ever to stay on top of the situation, and I checked in all of the time, sharing heart rate information from home. We knew the heartbeat was irregular, and my fantastic team watched it like a hawk.

‘They told me they would let me know when it was time for a pacemaker. I went in for my normal checkup at the beginning of March on my way to the Arnold Sports Festival, and they did a full series of tests. When I got home to LA, like it was fate, I was talking to one of my best friends.

‘They told me that they had a pacemaker implanted, it was a quick recovery, and their energy levels were back to what they were used to.

‘That’s one thing you learn about an irregular heartbeat: all that extra work your heart does wears you out. 

‘Man, if I can be honest with you, I struggled with those 16-hour days at the Arnold Sports Festival US at the beginning of March and in the UK last week, visiting as many sports as possible and walking through those crowds of hundreds of thousands of fitness fanatics.

‘The same day I talked to my friend, one of my doctors called to tell me that after looking at all of my results and data and knowing I had six weeks until it was time to film FUBAR Season 2, it was time to go for it. The doctors told me they want many more seasons of FUBAR, and this was the best way!

‘I told them I’d stop in Cleveland on my way home from the UK, and we’d do it. Monday, I went under and got my new machine part installed.

‘Like I said, by Friday, I was out doing my normal environmental work, and nobody knew anything. I can’t do my serious training in the gym for a while, but I will be 100% ready for FUBAR next month!

‘I could have kept it a secret. But I know that we have more than 750,000 subscribers now (775,000 to be exact — the village is a city now!), and a lot of you are probably dealing with your own health challenges.

‘I want you to know you aren’t alone.

‘And if you’re putting something off out of fear, I hope I inspire you to listen to your doctors and take care of yourself.

‘This village is a place for us to be open and honest because it’s impossible to be truly positive when you keep everything bottled up.

‘That’s what Arnold’s Pump Club is all about. There are weights that none of us can lift alone.

‘But together, we can lift anything — we can lift up the world. You are never alone here.’

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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