La La Anthony Needed Emergency Surgery to Fix a Heart Condition: 'It Was a Terrifying Experience' |

La La Anthony Needed Emergency Surgery to Fix a Heart Condition: ‘It Was a Terrifying Experience’

La La Anthony underwent emergency heart surgery in June after an irregular heartbeat caused her to nearly pass out.

via: People

The 39-year-old actress and former MTV VJ has struggled with PVCs, or premature ventricular contractions — extra heartbeats that cause the heart to overwork — for years, but put off addressing them as she focused on her career.

“I felt my heart racing all the time, but because it’s all I ever really knew, I didn’t even know that it was necessarily something wrong,” she told writer Evette Dionnei for the magazine’s November digital cover. “I just thought, ‘Oh, you just feel your heart racing sometimes because you’re working too much, you haven’t slept, you’re stressed.’ You know, we, especially Black people, like to self-diagnose. We got all the answers.”

Anthony was formally diagnosed in 2019, when a doctor determined that she had around 25% more heartbeats a day than the average person.

“They were very, very concerned,” she said. “Within a 24-hour period, they said, my heart was beating 30,000 extra beats more than the average person. It was going fast constantly.… Your heart is a muscle. If a muscle is working so hard all the time, eventually the muscle will get weak and cause heart attack, stroke, death, whatever it is.”

Anthony was prescribed medication to normalize her heartbeat but she didn’t like the side effects, which left her “so tired and out of it.” Instead she skipped it, and tried to manage her stress on her own to keep her heartrate down. Anthony also worried about the surgery she knew she needed, due to her fear of needles.

But on June 1 of this year, Anthony was lightheaded to the point where she couldn’t stand without assistance, and her family convinced her to call an ambulance.

“I never felt anything like that before,” she said, adding that her 14-year-old son Kiyan insisted that she get help. “Kiyan was like, ‘Mom, please let them call because you don’t look like yourself.’ ”

The EMTs pushed Anthony to go to the hospital, but she still resisted, until one said, “‘If you were my sister, I would say you have to go right now.’ ”

“Had it not happened [as an emergency],” Anthony added, “I probably would have still just been continuing to put it off, put it off, put it off.”

Doctors immediately performed a cardiac ablation, where they eliminate the part of the heart that causes the abnormal heartbeat. It took two hours, during part of which Anthony had to be awake.

“They would wake me up during the procedure and say, ‘We’re going to speed your heart up now…. Just take deep breaths,’ ” she recalled. “Those doctors were just so incredible. But it was a terrifying experience.”

Anthony remained in the hospital for four days after and is doing well after the surgery, which successfully corrected her PVCs.

“Right after I had the ablation, they put me on the EKG, and I’m looking at the monitor,” she said. “And it’s just steady and regular. I don’t see a spike anywhere. It’s so crazy. Just that quick. Everything kind of evened itself out and leveled out. To see that was like, ‘Wow, that’s all I had to do to get this s–t in order?’ It’s regular now.”

Anthony initially hesitated to share her story publicly, she said, but her son and the pandemic convinced her otherwise. Plus, she wanted to encourage other women, and particularly Black and Latinx women, to prioritize themselves and their health.

“Life is short. We’ve learned that from the pandemic. We learned that from being in quarantine. You want to be able to live it to the fullest, and you don’t want something that can easily be corrected to be a reason why you’re not able to enjoy life or be there for your family or your friends,” she said. “Use me as an example of why not to wait.”

We are very happy La La is better.

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