I am 54. I have angina and a positive stress ecg showing coronary ischemia, plus a cholesterol of 525 before they got me on statins - lol!! This is due to genetic factors. I am waiting for an angiogram and not worried about the process of catheterization itself.
But I have a neck/shoulder problem as well, so my worry is how I will cope with the lying on my back for ages during and after. Also I have read that I may need to move my head to right or left to give the camera room (this would be really painful for me) or have my arms lifted up behind my head (also very painful for me). I have nerve pain, on my bad side, that goes crazy with cooler air or air movement or light touch of fabrics etc. (called allodynia).
I just don't know how well I will deal with lying there in the cath lab with people or a sheet touching that arm. I am a positive person and will try to get a buzz from seeing the awesome sight of my own coronary arteries on screen, and hope the excitement of that will get me through. I don't really want to have sedatives but would that help? Or will they give painkillers? Would they allow me to wear a protective soft sleeve on that arm? Any ideas anyone? Thanks.
I laid flat on my back arms at side during the test. The only thing I had to do to help was to take deep breaths when told. You will have sedation but you will not be totally out of it. Hopefully just relaxed. Just be sure to tell them about all of the issues that concern you. Good luck and it sounds like you are ready to have this done.
I reckon it helped get those little nagging fears out of my system by writing them down. Back on target with my positive thinking now!
Anyone got any funny/strange experiences of angiograms? Got to be a funny side to everything - well, nearly everything.
What was crazy for me was I was walking around really smug, thinking how healthy I was. Yes, I have mechanical problems and nerve pain, but in myself I was good. Then all of a sudden I find I am clogging up with pure fat in my veins not blood! I find it funny that people still comment how well I now look, I smile to myself and say to them yes I am fine. A lot comes down to having learnt to be really relaxed.
Yes, explain your problems, and accept some sedation and painkillers if offered. You will still be aware of everything and be able to "obey" the few instructions that are given. Whether you have to move your head or not will depend on the machinery set-up, but it is in their interests to make you as comfortable as possible.The procedure is pretty straight forward and you cannot feel it moving through your arteries. Where they insert it (usually the groin) can be a bit sore, but nothing to worry about. I hope you do get the chance to see your coronary arteries - I had to turn my head a lot to manage a look. Post procedure you feel OK, but any bleeding from the entry site is closely monitored for obvious reasons. I managed to stay really still by concentrating on certain feature on the ceiling of the Cath. Lab. Not very interesting, but I went into meditating mode and suffered no distress.Good luck to you.
I believe a good Dr. would be as accomadating as possible, if not, unless there's sound reasons why not, I'd find a different Dr. Your emotional state is as important as your physical state. The first time I had a heart cath I didn't even look at the screen. I just layed there (didn't have to move my head) and did some deep breaths as told. I was to scared to do anything else. ha-ha
Don't know whether or not you have had your procedure done yet. Just to say that most doctors are very good at listening to your fears and concerns. Just let them know pf your physical problems before you go to theatre and whilst you are waiting for the procedure to be carried out. They should be able to help you and to reassure you. Also as said before you can be sedated.
I thought this bit funny after the event. I went in for my 2nd try, (first time slight heart tremor) and the doctor thought the area in the groin had been numbed -- wrong!! I have a wasting disease and have problems moving my body but boy did my arm react, it was like a miracle, I could move!! he he. I nearly knocked the surgeons eye out.
You'll be ok, you seem to be a positive person. Good luck.
Last edited by goldenwings; 01-03-2005 at 01:47 PM.
Thanks for these great replies, Fizz, Golden & everyone - I laughed out loud at yours Lenin. Knowing me, my cardiologist will probably scream "keep still and stop b....y laughing" at me!
I'm on the waiting list for another 2 months approx so plenty time. It's helped to share my worries, they do seem silly now I've got it all in proportion. I'm crazy - most people would worry about the actual catheter do-dah. I'll deal with it fine. I'll warn the nurses not to reassuringly touch my arm/hand etc. or I'll hit that ceiling with tubes trailing down from me!
Good luck and hope it all goes well for you. I too had an angiogram 5 years ago and now am waiting to have elecrophysiology studies of the heart. This is similar to an angiogram (via groin) but instead of dye to heart, its pacing wires (they never run out of tests do they?). An IV with medication will trigger off usual symptoms like palpitations and arrhythmia and then the wires will actually destroy tissue responsible for this. Then the medication (IV) is administered again to see if has been fixed with no further episodes. It requires the same thing, pressure for 20 mins after catherter removed from groin. Lying still for 6 hours (the boring bit), with back pain I try to focus on the ceiling, it's hard though. good luck again
You sound pretty cool about it. When I had mine the problem was having to keep so still rather than having to move. If it gets difficult just ask for sedation. Otherwise you are probably best without it. if you can keep calm and happy don't go for sedation.