'I could've died': Schwarzenegger opens up about emergency open-heart surgery

The 72-year-old actor went under the knife in March 2018 for what was supposed to be a minimally invasive procedure to replace a faulty pulmonary valve in his heart.

Fitness ambassador Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks to EWN on 17 May 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

LONDON - Arnold Schwarzenegger has revealed that he almost died when doctors discovered internal bleeding during what was supposed to be a minimally invasive procedure in 2018.

The 72-year-old actor went under the knife in March 2018 to replace a faulty pulmonary valve in his heart but when doctors discovered internal bleeding, it turned into open heart surgery.

Schwarzenegger used the example of his operation and the recovery he made to start shooting _Terminator: Dark Fate _just four months later, as an example for graduates about overcoming obstacles during the Covid-19 pandemic and later in life.

He wrote on Instagram: "My advice to graduates on overcoming obstacles during coronavirus... because of coronavirus, you are graduating into a world filled with obstacles, so I wanted you to know that no matter how successful you are, there will always be obstacles. But you can overcome and move toward your vision. Europeans don't talk about medical issues much, we protect them like state secrets. Maybe it's a sign I'm Americanised, but I wanted to share the story of my heart surgery going south four months before Terminator. I hope it gives you motivation in these hard times."

He added a video from the publisher @attndotcom, in which he said: "I can promise you that this virus won't be the last obstacle you face. But it can help you prepare for the next one. That's what life is all about, overcoming obstacles. Throughout your whole life, you will see obstacles being thrown in front of you like that."

Speaking about his surgery, he explained: "They said they broke through the heart wall, and there was internal bleeding, and I could have died if they didn't open up my sternum and do open-heart surgery."

However, Schwarzenegger revealed that thinking about shooting the sixth _Terminator _movie, got him through and pushed him to recover.

He said: "That's what I was shooting for. So, I started declaring little victories. After I did the first 500 steps with the walker, I declared victory. After I had an appetite again to eat normal, I declared victory. No matter how successful you are, life will throw obstacles in your path like it was with my heart surgery or like with your graduation now. But if you have a very clear vision like I talked about earlier, of exactly what you want to do, and who you want to be, you can go and find a way around all of those obstacles."