Susan Lucci arrives at Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies &...

Susan Lucci arrives at Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Summer 2019 TCA Press Tour Event on July 26, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Credit: Getty Images / Jerod Harris

Soap opera icon Susan Lucci, a Garden City resident, recently underwent a second emergency heart surgery following a near-fatal heart blockage three years ago.

"I was having kind of a shortness of breath and I thought, 'What is that?' the 75-year-old former "All My Children" star said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "Then I felt another similar symptom that I had had three years ago, which was a discomfort going around my rib cage and my back. … I thought, 'This is crazy … it can't be.' … But when I lay down, I started to feel a sharp coming-and-going pain in my jaw" that she recognized as a symptom of an imminent cardiac event.

She contacted her husband of 52 years, Helmut Huber. "He said, 'I'm going to meet you at the ER,' " Lucci recalled, choking up. "And so I did."

After arriving at Catholic Health St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center, in Roslyn, she underwent tests under department of cardiology chairman Dr. Richard Shlofmitz, who ordered immediate surgery. "He put another stent in," said Lucci, following one he had implanted in October 2018, when she had developed what she said at the time was a 90% blockage in the main artery of her heart.

When she had revealed that first surgery, four months afterward, Lucci explained that while she exercises daily and eats a healthy diet, she has a genetic predisposition to heart disease. Her father, contractor Victor Lucci, had suffered from arteriosclerosis, a thickening and hardening of the walls of arteries caused by plaque in those blood vessels.

With this recent surgery a few weeks ago, it was an 80% blockage due to calcium and cholesterol, "GMA" said. In a nontelevised portion of his interview, on the "GMA" website, Shlofmitz said, "She wasn't having a heart attack this time and she wasn't unstable. But she had symptoms that were certainly concerning to me that something might be wrong."

"Listen to your heart and act on it," Lucci advised on the morning show. An advocate for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign, she added, "I feel so lucky to have the platform that I have. … The fans that I have made over the years are so passionate and so wonderful.[I'm] so grateful for them in my life. And I just wanted to be able to do something more than entertain."

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