Rosie O’Donnell had a heart attack, took an aspirin & waited a day to see a doctor

A few months ago, I got handed a flyer with photos showing the symptoms of heart attacks in women, which can differ from the standard symptoms most of us are familiar with for men. It was from a new gym trying to advertise, and it was a clever way to do it since I read it carefully. (Here’s a link to a website with the photos and text on the flyer I saw.) Women often suffer heart attacks without realizing what’s happening, and it’s important that they know the signs in order to get help before it’s too late. Comedian Rosie O’Donnell, 50, had a heart attack and realized that she was having some sort of heart problem but didn’t grasp how serious it was. She googled it, dismissed her symptoms, took an aspirin and then waited until the next day to see her doctor. Her doctor told her she’d had a heart attack and sent her to the hospital, where they found a 99% blockage on her coronary artery and inserted a stent. Thank goodness it worked out ok for her. Here’s Rosie’s explanation from her blog. She wrote that she had helped a very large woman get out of her car earlier that day, which may have precipitated her heart attack.

a few hours later my body hurt
i had an ache in my chest
both my arms were sore
everything felt bruised

muscular – i thought
strained or pulled tissue
i went about my day
the pain persisted

i became nauseous
my skin was clammy
i was very very hot
i threw up

maybe this is a heart attack
i googled womens heart attack symptoms
i had many of them
but really? – i thought – naaaa

i took some bayer aspirin
thank god
saved by a tv commercial

i did not call 911
50% of women having heart attacks never call 911
200,000 women die of heart attacks
every year in the US

by some miracle i was not one of them
the next day i went to a cardiologist
the dr did an EKG and sent me to the hospital
where a stent was put in

my LAD was 99% blocked
they call this type of heart attack
the Widow maker
i am lucky to be here

know the symptoms ladies
listen to the voice inside
the one we all so easily ignore
CALL 911

save urself

[From Rosie's Blog]

Maybe Rosie’s experience will help more women learn what to look for and seek help immediately after a heart attack. It’s a wake up call for sure.

We just heard that Rosie’s fiance, Michelle Rounds, was very sick and had been diagnosed with a rare disease called desmoid tumors. These two have gone through so much recently and I hope that that both of them are on the mend and are feeling better soon. It sounds like Rosie is getting there.

Rosie is shown in the header on 4-14-12. Rosie and Michelle are shown together on 1-10-12. Credit:

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24 Responses to “Rosie O’Donnell had a heart attack, took an aspirin & waited a day to see a doctor”

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Good thing Rosie went public with this because it could help some other woman who has a heart attack. She was very lucky she didn’t die and it goes to show that women look after everyone but themselves! Jeez, Rosie. Glad she’s OK.

    • Garrish Utley says:

      Cowhead Rosie went public with this because she’s irrelevant. No one listens to the Queen of Mean anymore.

  2. sanna says:

    I’ve seen a lot more advertising about heart attack signs in women, since in media (tv and movies) you almost NEVER see anyone but men having a heart attack and the symptoms can be so different. I hope more people read up on it.

  3. Happymom says:

    As someone who struggles with her weight, I know it’s easier said than done: but she really, really needs to start taking better care of herself-she’s gotten huge.

    • Amanda_M87 says:

      Yeah that’s what I was thinking too. Rosie really needs to lose weight if she wants to live another decade.

  4. Nev says:

    go on Rosie!!!

    love her.

  5. Jess says:

    Poor Rosie and fiancee. And yes, women need to be careful because we just don’t realize how dangerous/prevelant heart attacks are for us. Meanwhile, on a very superficial level, Rosie and her girlfriend look great in those bottom pics.

  6. gee says:

    My mother just had a heart issue and I literally had to force her to go to the emergency room. Women just don’t know the signs of heart trouble for women. It’s different than with men! We all need to educate ourselves. I actually saw a PSA on Greys Anatomy a few years back and that’s why I knew it was my mothers heart, but here is a less embarrassing-to-site source:

  7. teehee says:

    I went to the emergency chest pain dept (thats what its called, LOL I know) in my town here when I had a bout of nausea after helping carry a heavy piece of furniture up the stairs. I also let it slide the first day but right away the next morning when I had nausea and chest pain after eating, I insisted they do bloodwork to check if everything is ok.
    I was negative on the signs for heart attack, thank god, but if I hadn’t known that nausea could be a sign, I could have missed something serious.

    • Raven says:

      It is worrisome that you had to insist. Should have been the other way around.

    • IzzyB says:

      My doctor insisted I had strained my thoracic muscles despite my genetic illness and heart murmur.

      Sadly I had a cardiac arrest on NYE 2008.

      Sometimes you can see the warning signs and it doesn’t matter a damn.

      Sorry, still bitter. I miss running.

  8. RocketMerry says:

    I hope both Rosie and her fiancè get better quickly.

  9. bella says:

    my mom complained of shoulder pain. her complexion was gray and she was very tired. she was 86 at the time. i wanted to take her to ER, but she insisted that she had “a cold in her back.” i treated her to Burger King, which she enjoyed. the next day, her throat felt “full” and she was having trouble swallowing. she had had a heart attack – a major one! and i fed her beef, cheese and french fries during it! she has a stent and is doing OK since…i never knew women experience entirely different symptoms from men during a heart attack. happy to hear Rosie is OK…great that she went public to raise awareness.

  10. lolita says:

    isnt a heart attack painful though? it sounds painful. how to withstand the pain without getting help

    • Fatkid says:

      See Sam’s comment below for the best explanation of how Rosie went through it without thinking of getting help.

      Most of us are used to some form of some of the symptoms (that’s what makes this dangerous) and most of us are too busy taking care of our kids, parents, partners, jobs, life to ever address what causes the day to day, much less the off chance that ‘this time’ could be different (that’s what makes this deadly).

      As someone upthread said, we have to do better at taking care of ourselves and make the time for our health a priority.

    • ol cranky says:

      not always. there are loads of “silent MIs” that are discovered after the fact on ECG readings

  11. Sam says:

    I am not meaning to be flippant at all, but i have most of the signs mentioned in the link you put up for heart attacks most of the time. I have a few other health issues that have lead to me being overweight, but that really freaks me out that I might not notice the signs. Just one more thing to worry about, ugh.
    Glad Rosie is ok though!!

  12. Sal says:

    Edit: Lol, never mind. Didn’t know they could be different.

  13. Scarlet Vixen says:

    Something very similar happened to my mum about 25yrs ago. She had a mild heart attack and never knew it! At the time she was in her mid-40s, relatively good health, and mum to 6 children–I’m the youngest and was only about 6yrs old at the time. She felt some of the symptoms mentioned, figured she was just fighting something and went to rest for a few hours. 20 years later a doctor ran some tests and recognized the damage to her heart muscle and explained to her that she’d had a heart attack. So, it really can happen to virtually anyone, anytime.

  14. Jaded says:

    Desmoid tumours are horrible, a good friend of mine had to have radical surgery twice and a good portion of her abdominal wall removed. She’s never fully recovered.

    Wishing speedy, full recoveries to both of them.

  15. KellyinSeattle says:

    Never cared much for Rosie; her fiance” is cringing while Rosie kisses her. However, I don’t wish any harm on her…I’m glad she’s okay. I’m also glad she’s calmed down on not on everything I see anymore.

  16. Lisa says:

    Let the countdown to her Jenny Craig commercials begin.

  17. Violet says:

    Years ago, Oprah did a show on this. I remember being so surprised, because I’d assumed that only men had heart attacks so to learn that women had them too — but had very different symptoms — was an eye opener.

    Kudos to Rosie for being open about her health scare, and raising awareness by sharing her own experience. I’m sorry to hear that she and her fiance have had such troubles lately, and wish them well.