Arnold Schwarzenegger Shares the Ordeal of His Heart Surgery Gone Wrong

Arnold Schwarzenegger Shares the Ordeal of His Heart Surgery Gone Wrong

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Arnold Schwarzenegger underwent open heart surgery in 2020 in order to correct a congenital heart defect, and has just spoken at length for the first time about his experience. It turns out the movie legend’s aortic valve replacement procedure involved a series of scary complications, including Schwarzenegger himself waking up on the operating table.

“I was really freaking out,” Schwarzenegger says in a video on his Instagram and YouTube accounts, explaining that when he woke up, the doctors told him this “non-invasive” surgery hd gone wrong, and the surgeon had “made a mistake” and “poked through the heart wall,” causing internal bleeding.

“I said, great, well this is really great news,” he added, wryly.

For Schwarzenegger, who was due to film action sequel Terminator: Dark Fate just three months later, his top priority became recovering from this setback.

“The bottom line is, you cannot roll the clock back, it’s a disaster. I was in the middle of a disaster,” he says. “So now I say, how do I get out of it? You have to shift gears. Correct yourself, shift gears, and say OK, what I need to do now is I’ve got to get out of this hospital, number one. How do I get out of this hospital? By getting out of bed and starting walking.”

Schwarzenegger called on his friends and family to accompany him on his daily walks around the hospital, joking that he “looked like an idiot, waddling around in the hallway,” but it was important that he exercise his lungs as part of his recovery. He was also eager to get back into his training for Terminator: Dark Fate.

“I had to be in shape, I had to be able to move around, run around, lift things up, do the fight scenes,” he says. “And we did it. Because I had a positive attitude, I knew exactly how I’m going to get there, I had the support system… and when we started shooting Terminator 6, I was all back together again.”

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Philip Ellis

Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.

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