The sirens, the gurney and hospital stay may be over but new figures reveal the disabling impact of a heart attack with one in two survivors not returning to the same level of paid work or physical activity as before.
Heart Foundation's chief medical advisor Professor Garry Jennings AO, said his organisation's survey of 351 heart attack survivors showed the real and ongoing impact on a person and their loved ones.
Close to 45 per cent of survivors stated they were not able to play with their children or grandchildren at the same level and almost 50 per cent were not able to do as much gardening or any at all.
"There's this perception that people have a heart attack and then three days later they leave hospital 'cured'. However this is far from the truth," Prof Jennings said.
"All these people now live with a life-long condition of heart disease and for many it will impact their quality of life."
Each year 55,000 Australians have a heart attack, yet only 13,000 survivors take part in cardiac rehabilitation which gets survivors back on track.
Prof Jennings said those that participated in cardiac rehabilitation were 40 per cent less likely to be readmitted to hospital and 25 per cent less likely to die from another heart attack.
Bonython dad of two Rodney Turner was diagnosed with a ruptured heart valve in 2014 and underwent open heart surgery in Sydney.
After his successful surgery he was rushed to Canberra Hospital three times with complications requiring him to have fluid drained from his heart.
Before his heart event he was a regular runner and fit 48-year-old but became anxious about "pushing too hard too early".
He said participating in a six-week cardiac rehab program covering everything from diet, lifestyle, understanding medication and getting back into exercise has made him confident to resume his normal life again.
"I knew the rehab would give me information but I also knew there was a gym and that they would put me through the paces with exercise," he said.
"The great thing about it was I was able to build my fitness again and it's done under the direction of the nurses so you're not in the dark so to speak worrying that your going to do more damage."
Mr Turner said the program allowed him to voice his fears, talk with others in a similar position and get back to exercising in the community in social groups at the gym and park.
"I do a two-year check up this year and there are always the niggling fears, but it makes you more mindful of your body. Now I'm not worried about being the fastest 50- year-old, my personal best is just exercising smarter and feeling healthy in myself," he said.