Why am I going through this again? (Cardiac Catheterization)

Right now, I’m feeling really anxious.

In 2001 (I was 47) I had a very mild MI (heart attack) which resulted in four days in hospital but no angiogram or other intervention. I went on a variety of meds at that time (asa, beta blocker, ACE inhibitor, Statin). I got six weeks in a cardiac rehab program which was great.

about five years later, I started noticing a bit of what I learned was angina when excersizing. This got me to the cath lab and a diagnosis of multple blockages in various coronary arteries. Stenting wasn’t an option. So, four years ago next month, I had a triple bypass. The surgeon was able to harvest pectoral arteries from inside my chest so I got to avoid having my leg ripped open. Also, they, as I understand it, last longer than veins.

I was told I should be good for 10-15 years. I don’t smoke, my lipids are below target for my risk group. My weight is good. no hypertension.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that familiar burn of angina and knew I had to get to my doctor. Next stop, Excersize stress lab (positive). On friday, I spend the day at the Cath Lab for another angiogram and maybe stenting.

My Brother who is 6 years my junior, is presently recovering from a triple bypass. He had his first MI. 14 years ago. Our Dad died at 52 from a massive heart attack. We have great genes. :rolleyes:

I shouldn’t complain. The alternative would be to have a ticking (hahah) time bomb in my chest.

I just want to vent. I haven’t told most of my friends. I was getting used to not being known as the guy with the bad heart.

Thanks for listening.

Acceptance of one’s position is a very important quality. You are doing all you can do with your DNA and you have already surpassed your father. Diet, exercise and low blood pressure don’t solve everything.

I’m sorry you are going through this but I am very glad you listened to your body and got all the right treatment as soon as you did.

Hang in there - you’re in good hands!

I lost both of my grandfathers (one at 64, one at 78) to heart attacks, before angioplasty and stents were available. So, for all of the people that love you, thank you for heeding your body’s warnings and getting to the doctors.

I work at a company that makes coronary catheters, so I hope you can take some comfort from the fact that a LOT of people in this business really do care about the patients - we all know that it could easily be our loved ones that need these products. In live case viewings I’ve seen a number of younger patients like you, so you’re definitely not alone!

Take care of yourself. Remember, prompt action (like you did) will keep you from ending up with heart failure.

Thank you for the support and words of encouragement.

I’m fortunate to be living in this place and time

Heh, this is timely.

longPath, we JUST got back the hospital today after my fiance got a stent. He is in excellent shape (2 physicians and 2 cardiologists have told him so). He works out with weights and does cardio religiously at 70 years old.

He had a CABG eleven years ago, and has diligently had his annual treadmill test and nuclear stress test every four years. the NST turned up a blockage in one of the grafts. If I understood them correctly, the grafts have a tendency to develop blockages. If there’s a reason for this, I didn’t catch what it is. They used vein grafts at least partially though. I don’t know if this is your situation, but thought I’d let you know that. You didn’t fail. You would have failed if you hadn’t had followup care.

Man, we’re sleep-deprived. Sleeping in the hospital sucks.

As a heart patient myself, I just want to say: sorry to hear that you have to go through this again, and best wishes for a speedy recovery and long, happy life.

To be the voice of little mary sunshine here.

What you got was GOOD news, as you yourself said, you could’ve failed to recognized the symptoms and it would be a lot worse off.

You have to put it in perspective. You could have this condition and no health insurance. You could have this condition and no one to help you or take care of you, and the list goes on.

See the thing about perspective is it doesn’t solve anything but it allows you to cope.

And right now that’s all you can do. You can cope with being afraid. But try to be positive about it. The fact you beat it once, only means you can beat it again.

Remember most importantly to remember just because something bad happened to you today doesn’t mean something good can’t happen to you today.

Now I know you’re probably saying that’s nice, but it’s just words, which is true but they say a lot.

So just relax and remember what has happened to your heart has happened. You can’t change it, but you can COPE with it, and almost certainly you’ll be able to fix it <knock wood>

Now go in for the tests on Friday and let us know how you did

I can’t say enough about how good our health care system is. (Canada) There is a lot of discussion about its shortcomings. Long wait times (for elective surgeries like orthopaedics), not enough GPs cause serious back ups in ER rooms. It goes on and on. If you are really sick, things can happen in a heartbeat. When my cardiologist told me I would need to have the dye test again, he told me to expect to wait 4-6 weeks. I got a call the next day with an appointment for the next week. Also, I find everyone involved in the process seem to be very sensitive to the anxieties and uncertaincies of patients and family.

I have started talking a bit more about it with my friends. That is helping as is discussing it in this forum.

Angel Sounds like your friend is doing great! My CABG was four years ago and arterial grafts were used.

When I met with the surgeon on the day before the CABG, I was trying to put on a brave face and asked him If there could be a mirror placed so I could watch. He looked a bit alarmed but then laughed. “I don’t think so” he said. “So, can you take some pictures for me?” I asked, “No problem! Bring your camera and I’ll get you pictures!” I was interested to learn that no one had ever asked before.

Today I spend 2-4 hours getting stuff like pre-op blood work and learning how to wear the paper gown with dignity.

Thanks again for the support.

longPath, take pride in knowing that you, personally, are doing everything you can to preserve your health and well-being as best you can. Many people would just bury their heads in the sand.

And you’re right, you’re lucky to be in this time period. Even twenty years ago, someone in your condition had a much more grim outlook.

I want to wish you the best of luck, and continue to take care of yourself! :slight_smile:

BTW, I’ve reported your OP, because it seems to me that this thread might be better off in MPSIMS. Of course whether to move it or not is now up to the mods.

I work for a company that makes stents, and agree with MN_Maenad’s comments. If it’s any consolation, in my albeit limited experience, many patients end up having CABG for one reason or another, then subsequent stents.

Because I’m a freak, I’m now reading a Japanese medical textbook published in 1965. It’s so sad to see that back then, all they had was nitroglycerin or CABG, basically.

Hopefully you’ll be a candidate for stenting. It’s much less invasive, you’ll be awake to enjoy it, and you’ll be out of the hospital a lot sooner! You have different stent options, too. There are bare-metal stents: roughly 30% of patients end up having the stented artery close up again (in some cases a doctor can go in with a balloon and open things up again, or place another stent inside that one, or perform CABG), though.

There are also drug-eluting stents, which are coated with a polymer and a drug that slows down the growth of cells inside the stent to keep it open. Many doctors use these because of the lower chance of the artery closing up; the down side is that you’ll have to take anti-platelet medicine for a certain period of time afterwards, to keep your blood thin so no clots form. This is a bummer if you need surgery during that time.

I hope it’s some comfort to know that technology development is rapid, so your doctor will have more options and better products than he would have had even a few years ago.

I hope your procedure goes smoothly, and I think it will. Post pics! :smiley:

Though not mundane, moving thread from IMHO to MPSIMS.

good on you for going and getting checked out at the first signs.

it is really frustrating to deal with a family member in denial. your family must be worried about you but very happy that you pay attention and do what needs to be done.

i hope all goes well and you are back in fighting form very soon.

I had to show up at the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at 0645 yesyerday morning. After getting fitted with my armband and an IV port in my left wrist. We were directed to a bed in a room with three other gentlemen. I understood that there were about twelve of us in total who were waitng for the procedeure. The wait could be up 4-5 hours depending on emergent cases coming in.

We had plenty of time to socialize and swap “war stories” (everyone in our room had already had some kind of procedure) Anxiety was apparent but well controlled.

At 1115 a light lunch was delivered and I had iust tucked into my egg salad sammy when a nurse appeared and ordered me to pee, get into my bed and take this pill which would relax me. Now, on rare occasions, I might take .5 mg of Lorazepam for anxiety. I was given 10 mg of Valium :eek:
It turned out to be a good thing because after being moved into the staging area, I had to wait another 90 minutes because of an emergency case having arrved by ambulance. Poor guy looked to be less than 30 years old and had suffered a serious heart attack.

I finally got my turn. I was able to distact myself by gawking at all the cool equipment. The previous patients images were on the monitor suspended over the table. Six or seven short movies of someone’s heart being flooded with some radioopaque dye just kept looping over and over. I could see the stainless steel wires which they use to hold your sternum closed after open heart surgery. I have a bunch of them and they are easy to see/feel under my skin.

The doc who did the job was unknown to me. He froze me and inserted the tube in my right femoral artery. This would be the port through which the catheter would be inserted. I couldn’t see that but imagined that a fair bit blood must have come out before all the plumbing was in place.

There’s a warning about the intense sensation of heat that people experience when the dye is injected. “You will think you peed yoursef” the nurse said. It didn’t feel like that but it sure is wierd. I tried not to ask the doctor too many questions but enough to satisfy my curiosity. (never about my case. I know where that will get you :wink: ) The dye is some kind of iodine compound which absorbs well in the x-ray part of the spectrum. The hot feeling is caused by the dye solution scavenging water from the vascular system (as I understood his explanation) He likened it to taking a shot of straight liquor and the resulting warm sensation in your esophagus/stomach.

The images on the screen were hard to make any sense of. (for me). I was able to see at least one artery which appeared to almost totally occluded.

The worst part was lying prone for 3-4 hours while the hole starts to heal and waiting for my Cardiologist to stop by and give me the results. The valium probably helped this.

Finally, the news. Native arteries: no blockages. Grafts: like new. No problems. Why the positive stress test? Doc has no idea. He’s confident that I have the atherosclerosis under control.

I’m going to start Couch to 5K again and keep in touch with my GP. Sorry I couldn’t get any pictures .:frowning:

Thanks again for all the support. I’m taking flowers to the staff at the Cardiac Day Surgery unit on Monday!

That’s very good news. Congratulations.