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SYFY WIRE Terminator: Dark Fate

Arnold Schwarzenegger Reveals "Disaster" Heart Surgery Complication Almost Killed Him

The legendary action star was in a bad spot following a heart surgery in 2018.

By Matthew Jackson

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legendary action movie star and former Governor of California, has revealed that a relatively simple heart surgery procedure just a few years ago almost cost him his life.

In a video uploaded to the YouTube arm of his podcast, Pump Club, Schwarzenegger discussed the surgery and its complications, as well as his eventual recovery. According to the Terminator and Predator star, the surgery was a simple, non-invasive valve replacement meant to happen quickly and safely. But when Schwarzenegger woke up, he found things had gone wrong.

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"'We made a mistake and poked through the heart wall, and therefore...[you have] internal bleeding and we have to open [you] up very quickly to save your life,'" Schwarzenegger recalled doctors telling him. 

He added, "I was in the middle of a disaster, so now it's 'How do I get out of it?'"

Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Schwarzenegger began his journey back with simple exercise in the form of walking the hospital hallways, after his doctors urged him to exercise his lungs to reduce the risk of developing pneumonia post-surgery. What began with just a few steps with the aid of a walker soon became a full- blown workout, as his friends joined him in the hospital to encourage him to take longer and longer walks down the halls. Eventually, after he was discharged from the hospital, Schwarzenegger was able to get back in his home gym and begin training for Terminator: Dark Fate, which he was set to film in just a matter of months following the surgery.

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"We did it, because I had a positive attitude, I knew exactly how I'm gonna get there. I had the support system, because none of this we can do by ourselves. I had a whole support system, and it was fantastic, the way all the guys pumped me up and got me going. And when I started shooting Terminator 6, I was all back together again."

The surgery was one of three operations Schwarzenegger has undergone in recent years to address issues related to a congenital heart defect, but it sounds like it was by far his most trying medical procedure. In the years since, he's kept plenty busy, launching the Pump Club podcast as a motivational tool for his fans, and operating more frequently in the streaming space through projects like his Netflix action series FUBAR and the docuseries Arnold. We're definitely glad he got up out of that bed and stuck around. 

Want more Schwarzenegger action? Check him out in the first three Expendables films, now streaming on Peacock.