La La Anthony Shares the ‘Terrifying Experience’ of Being Awake During Her Emergency Heart Surgery

The fear of medical equipment and procedures is a commonly held phobia, even for celebrity figures like La La Anthony. The actor/model/reality TV star received the diagnosis of a serious heart condition. But due to her fear of surgery and needles, Anthony refused treatment until it was an absolute necessity.

On June 1, 2021, Anthony was no longer able to resist the much-needed procedure; she found herself leaning against her refrigerator and struggling to breathe. The 39-year-old’s son Kiyan, whose father is NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony, found his mother in distress and pleaded with her to accept medical attention.

La La Anthony’s health journey 

La La’s heart problems have affected her for several years. But she chose to never bring up her medical condition on social media. Despite knowing about the condition and that it would only be mended by surgery, La La maintained a hectic lifestyle, including filming several TV series.

Adding to the stress of acting and being in the public eye was the somewhat messy and public separation of La La and Carmelo. This high level of stress can worsen heart afflictions, which became severe in her case.

According to Self, the Brooklyn native’s heart was beating 25% more frequently than normal per day. This extra pressure on the body and heart is extremely dangerous. It could easily be life-threatening especially when left untreated. 

La La’s diagnosis and fear of needles

TV personality La La Anthony attends the BMF world premiere screening in 2021
La La Anthony at a 2021 event | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for STARZ

The actor was diagnosed with an abnormal heart rate, which can be an extremely dangerous condition. Despite La La’s physicians’ warnings, the multi-faceted star continued her hectic shooting schedule while suffering from side effects. One of the main reasons La La was hesitant of receiving treatment was her deep fear of needles.

Trypanophobia is the fear of needles, specifically involved in medical procedures. This phobia dissuaded La La from getting necessary care until it became an emergency situation. In her extensive interview with Self, La La admitted she likely would have continued.

She explained, “Had it not happened [as an emergency], I probably would have still just been continuing to put it off, put it off, put it off.” The emergency aspect and strong words from the people around her finally convinced La La that she needed surgery. She was taken to a medical facility by ambulance, as underwent an extensive heart operation

La La’s terrifying surgery 

Receiving open-heart surgery is a terrifying notion for anyone. This is only partially relieved by the anesthesia that takes away a patient’s consciousness during the procedure. Unfortunately for La La, her surgery required her to be fully awake during parts of the surgery because her heart rate had to be sped up. The awareness that a person has their body cut open is truly frightening, and not a process most people would feel completely comfortable with.

In total, the surgery lasted several hours and La La was hospitalized for four days. The experience must have been almost like a nightmare for La La. Fortunately, the surgery was a success.

It also awakened a sense of awareness for ensuring her future good health. La La now encourages people to talk to their doctors about heart health or any issues they may have. 

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