Cardioligy...an INEXACT Science...??? (0 - 70% blockage?...really angry)

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so...

67 YOA...Two heart attack scares (huge pain in chest/shortness of breath) & a trip to the cardiologist. Stress Test...Echocardiogram...blood work. I go back last FRI for my follow up...doc sez, 'congratulations, you're heart is healthy...all your tests came back normal'. I sez, 'thanx doc...so what exactly is my level of blockage?' Doc sez, 'theoretically...zero to 70%, because anything less that 60 - 70% doesn't even show up on a stress test'.

I am really angry at these hugely inconclusive results. For months now I have been eating nothing but fruits, vegetables, whole grains & lean meats; & have literally lost 55 lbs. I plan on sticking w/ this regimen...but what?...I now have to walk around for the rest of my life paranoid over having a major heart attack...???...which can occur at even 25% blockage...???...never knowing exactly how much blockage I actually have...??? I was so flaberghasted that I didn't even bother to ask him if there is a test that can measure exact blockage (although, I am assuming it would be something to do w/ running a video camera on a tube up into the heart, or some such invasive nonsense).

anyone else experience this sort of thing?

thanx,

mark4man

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  • Posted

    I understand how you feel. I have been having a lot of heart related inconsistencies since a major infection and hospitalization. My body was so stressed and now my heartrate goes from low 40 when laying down to spells of 150 even if not active, sometimes just sitting. Blood pressure shoots up to 150/100 with very little exertion sometimes. I've also had chest, arm, and shoulder pain scares, feeling light headed and like the life was draining from me in those moments. I've been checked and checked with EKG, chest X-ray, Echo. Had a bad episode and went to the ER last Monday with all of the above along with intense back aches.

    The only thing these tests check is if you have something going on with your heart at present, if there is a complete block somewhere in the system preventing bloodflow to the heart, or if you have already had a heart attack, not if you are on the verge of having an attack. They have to specifically look at every portion of your limbs with ultrasound or CT scan/MRI with contrast to know for sure how much blockage you have in your veins, which they won't do unless there is good evidence of it being present in blood tests or through pain of a local blood clot, and even then, they only look at the area in question. Anything short of these and you basically have to be in the middle of an attack for them to pick anything up on the regular checks, but if you are like me and live 30 minutes from civilization, it can be scary. By the time they get to me, I'd probably be gone in most urgent cases. On top of that, every appointment I make is at least 2 weeks out from when I'm having problems, so again, I'd likely die before they find out anything significant. I'm supposed to have a heart monitor put on me for two weeks, but first I have to be called by this company, then they mail it to me, then I wear the monitor, then I mail it back, then my cardiologist gets the information, then I have my follow-up appointment. That's more than a month from now, a cardiac event only needs a few minutes to an hour of that time to kill me. The company sending the monitor hasn't even contacted me yet and it has already been a week. If I do have anything life threatening going on, I'd likely succumb to it before they find out anything.

    I try to take precautions however I can. Monitor my diet, do light exercises for circulation, wear compression stockings, keep my feet above my heart at night. I keep my phone next to me as well as an oximeter, blood pressure monitor, and that new 6-lead EKG by Kardiamobile. I have been learning to read EKGs so that I will recognize if I am definitely having a cardiac event or if it is me being anxious or some other heart irregularity due to my situations. I'm not letting all of this stress me out, but simply doing what I can to give me a safety net and the best chance of survival.

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    • Posted

      It's saddening to me Ken to read your comments but unfortunately you've echoed how a lot of us feel about health care presently. My hubby had an episode of seriously and abnormally high BP - about 210/180 and various other odd symptoms, like cognitive issues and clammy skin but no intensive chest pain. He was told by NHS direct they would book him an out of hours GP appointment for that evening, for 8pm. We turned up in plenty of time and then sat there for over four hours, til after midnight, before being seen. The doctor was obviously tired and it was very late in the day, he told us to go home and take an extra blood pressure pill that night. Some months later it happened again whilst my hubby was at work. Luckily he works alongside nursing staff and they drove him to the ER and insisted he be given proper tests. It turned out he had four arteries with major blockages and even though he hadnt had severe pain, he had had a heart attack (and probably did the previous time too) - he ended up having to have quadruple bypas surgery - who knows if the first time it may have been possible for stents, much less life threatening. I asked his cardiac surgeon if it was possible this was the case and got a lot of evasive responses. I wasnt interested in getting anyone into trouble or suing them, I would have just liked an honest answer.

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  • Posted

    I do get the impression that the health industry is satisfied. Everyone needs medical care and there are always more people to treat. If one person dies, then they will give that time slot to someone else. There is no immediate need for them to devise better procedures. They have the money they need and access to the care when they need it. The pacing for general citizens is adequate to keep them occupied with serviceable clients for the long term with acceptable level of mortality rates. In the end, they just say that they did what they could to make sure they made a reasonably justified assessment given current technologies.

    Not trying to sound like an advertisement, but this is why I am thankful for government shakeups or entrepreneural endeavors like Kardiamobile's portable 6-lead EKG. I told the ER doctor about it and he said a 6-lead EKG from such a small device was impossible. I then showed him the EKGs I took and he discussed one with me. These doctors don't expect anything to ever change. They are content that what they know is the law and won't be contested easily. My colon was cut slightly during a surgery which led to sepsis this year. When I talked to professionals about it, they downplayed the situation or refused to talk about it outright. Most doctors are helpful and do what they can. They definitely know more than we do, however nobody is going to care for our life the way we do. When we leave their offices, they assume that they have done a reasonably acceptable job. If they don't hear from us after we leave, by death or otherwise, oh well. If they do, then ok. It isn't a concern for them other than they do a reasonable job and get a paycheck. Money is truly a corrupting and stagnating factor in the health industry.

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  • Posted

    An ECG wont necessarily show an arterial blockage - that would need an angiogram or CT angiogram. Have you had one done?

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  • Posted

    The only way would be an Angiogram, where they go through your wrist up to your heart and the can see any blocked arteries, this is what they do when you've had a heart attack then they can put a stent in if they're blocked.

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