Susan Lucci is sharing updates about her health, revealing she underwent heart surgery for a second time a few weeks ago.
In an interview with “Good Morning America” that aired Monday, Lucci, 75, said she experienced symptoms that were familiar to her. She had shortness of breath and pain around her ribcage and back — the same things she felt three years ago when she had her first heart surgery in October 2018.
“I thought, ‘This is crazy. These are the same kind of symptoms that I had three years ago but it can’t be,’ ” Lucci said.
When the “All My Children” star, who played diva Erica Kane on the series, shared how she was feeling with her husband Helmut Huber, he insisted she see her doctor. After undergoing a few tests, her doctor discovered she had an 80% blockage in her heart from calcium and cholesterol and placed another stent in.
Lucci’s doctor, Dr. Richard Shlofmitz, chairman of cardiology at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York, told “Good Morning America” the actress’s symptoms were subtle and if she had waited any longer it could’ve turned into a more dire emergency.
One of the reasons Lucci is choosing to open up about her heart health is to encourage other women to be proactive about their health.
“Listen to your heart and act on it. Be your own best friend, be your own advocate. You’ll save your life,” Lucci said. “I feel so lucky to have the platform that I have. I just wanted to be able to do something other than entertain.”
In February 2019, the actress revealed she underwent emergency heart surgery in October for a major blockage in her arteries that could have ended in a fatal heart attack.
Lucci told People magazine in an interview at the time: “I’m lucky to be alive.”
She said that after feeling pain that “felt like an elephant pressing down on my chest,” she underwent a CT scan at the hospital.
The tests revealed that the actress had 90% blockage in the heart’s main artery, which doctors call “the widow maker,” and 70% blockage in another branch.
“I’m not a nurse or anyone who can help in any real way,” Lucci said. “This is the way I can help. I can tell my story. Everyone’s symptoms are different but I felt compelled to share mine. Even if it’s one person I help. That is someone’s life.”
Since her first heart surgery, Lucci has become a vocal advocate for women’s heart health. The legendary soap opera actress even walked down (after taking a tumble) the runway at the 2019 American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection.
Susan Lucci takes a tumble, recovers with a smile on the American Heart Association runway
Contributing: Anika Reed
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Susan Lucci reveals she underwent second heart surgery