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Old 05-10-2005, 07:27 AM   #1
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Cardiac Cath..should I?

Hi, thank you for your time. I have had extensive non-evasive tests done on my heart over the past few years because of Pvc's that I have been experiencing. I am a 39 year old female. Dont drink..I have been smoking about half a pack a day. (trying to quit) I am 5'10 and weigh 230lbs. I do have a family history of heart disease. The doctors told me according to the cardia tests I have had..ekg..holter..event monitors..echocardiogram..stress test with thalium..I have had em all...they tell me nothing is wrong with my heart that I just have pvc's. (plus I am on atenol 25mg. not for High BP tho..just for palps). I was getting comfortable with their diagnosis until I talked to my neighbor who is the same age and female, who had all the tests done as well...and they came back fine. but when they did a catheter on her..they discovered she had a 75% blockage and had to put a stint in. I am really afraid now..cause you know when something just doesnt seem right with your body. I feel like maybe the doctors are blowing me off and making me think I am crazy.. should I insist on the catheter? I am also afraid of that test..the risks seem high..is there another way to make sure my heart is 100% fine without invading it? Please help me..my next doctors visit will be to a mental institution..I CANT LIVE LIKE THIS!!! These irregular heartbeats CANNOT be normal!! I need to connect with some people who have been thru the same thing.Thank you for your time.

Last edited by Godiswithyou; 05-10-2005 at 07:28 AM.

 
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Old 05-10-2005, 02:56 PM   #2
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

I'm wondering if you are my neighbor? Not really, but my story is similiar. I also had all of those tests and they didn't show anything at all. When my symptoms continued they finally did a cath 6 weeks later. At age 41 and female I had 75% blockage requiring a stent. I was not a smoker, slightly overweight, no other health problems whatsoever and had a family history of heart disease.
If you are continuing to have chest pain and shortness of breath especially upon exertion I believe I would push for the cath. Yes there are risks but there are also risks with not having a blockage diagnosed. Do you have chest, arm, back or neck pain on exertion that goes away when you rest? Do you have shortness of breath on exertion? If you answer yes to those questions I would pursue having the cath.

 
Old 05-10-2005, 04:24 PM   #3
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godiswithyou
should I insist on the catheter? I am also afraid of that test..the risks seem high..is there another way to make sure my heart is 100% fine without invading it?
There is a fairly new test called Impedance Cardiography (ICG), which is supposed to be able to show how well the heart is working. It is a lot cheaper than a Heart Catheterization, and is non invasive. It hooks up to you like an ECG.

You might want to check this out as an alternative.

 
Old 05-11-2005, 05:46 AM   #4
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

Now I'm really nervous!!! I cant walk to far without gasping for breath. We went to a water park one day and I had to climb stairs to go down a slide and couldnt believe how much trouble I had! I didnt have chest pains..I just couldnt breathe. I do occasionally get little sharp pains in my chest or back of my arm..and sometimes my hand feels a little funny..but I dont know how much is anxiety. I am realllly scared right now! Should I run go demand a cath??? My pcp is giving me a hard time with a referral to see a cardiologist because of all the past tests coming back normal. They have already decided I'm a nut. Oooo I dont know what to do..

 
Old 05-11-2005, 06:15 AM   #5
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

Before you run to your pcp remember that you are a smoker and overweight. You will be short of breath because of those two factors. I don't know whether you should demand the test or not. I know in my case I just knew it was my heart even though they were telling me my heart was fine. Go with your gut feeling. Heart disease has many different symptoms that not all people have. I had shortness of breath climbing stairs (sometimes). I was aware that it wasn't normal for me but I passed it off to getting older and more out of shape. At first I had very little chest pain (again very easy to ignore). I had shoulder pain for which I took ibuprofen occasionally. I was more tired than usual. Again I just thought maybe I was overdoing it. When I had the crushing chest pain that was going down my left arm and I couldn't breathe and had to call 911 for myself I knew in my case this was not anxiety or acid reflux. It was 6 weeks after that incident before someone would believe me and do a heart cath. If your only symptoms are PVC's then I don't know that I would push for a cath. I've had 6 or 7 (lost count) and if I thought I had more blockage I would have another cath without a doubt.

 
Old 05-12-2005, 05:33 AM   #6
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

Do you have to have a referrel to go to a Cardiologist because of insurance rules? If not, I would set up my own appointment and take the previous test results with you. I have had 12 heart caths and in those 8 stents. They are not fun but tolerable. I do not have PVCs, my problem has been blockages. Women have different symptoms with heart problems than the classic ones seen on TV though we can have those too. I experience center chest pressure like someone is sitting on my chest, but also center back pain, left jaw and ear pain, and left arm pain. I experience angina every day, but I have a 100% closed right coronary artery after a failed bypass on that artery. Please listen to your body and at least insist upon seeing a cardiologist and getting his or her opinion.

 
Old 05-13-2005, 04:51 PM   #7
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

Thank you all so much for your replies. As of today, Friday 13th, I was just discharged from a two day stay in the hospital. I went in for a pre-op appointment on Wednsday but was having chest pains and left arm pains so the took me straight to the ER instead. Longggg story short... I had a stress test this morning...not the treadmill one, but the one where they shoot the heart racing medicine thru your IV. OMG!! that was the worst thing I had ever been thru!! If that is what a heartattack feels like, I NEVER want to have one of those!!! The pressure on my chest! I couldnt breathe..it was horrible.! Anyway, the test came back fine. I havent had a cigarette since Tuesday.. AND DONT WANT TO!! Please pray for me to make me quit. I have made up my mind to get healthy..lose weight..and eat right.. and exercise. I have to follow up with the cardiologist in a week...I still dont know if I should push for the cath or not. He says that unless it is an emergency..he doesnt like to do that because of the serious risks involved. I dont know what to do about that. I was told however...that the pain I feel in my chest and/or arms..if it hurts worse when I breathe..or touch it or whatever...then it is NOT heart pain. Because you cannot make heart pain worse on your own. So believe me..whenever I get a pain..I am pounding and poking on myself to see if it gets worse lol. Anyway, the pvc's I can live with..its the pain that I need to find the root of. God Bless all of you..and thank you for your comments.!!

 
Old 05-13-2005, 08:25 PM   #8
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

I have been having the pvcs for over a year and finally just went to the doctor. They found that I had a potassium deficiency. Just something to consider. Many of your symptoms are also common in hyperactive thyroid. Have you had thyroid tests done.

Also, if your pain is getting worse when you touch the area, etc. it probably is some type of muscle or joint, etc. problem. I have heard the same thing.

I will pray that you will be able to continue with not smoking.

Nancy

 
Old 05-14-2005, 05:23 AM   #9
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

Thank you so much Nancy for your prayers. Day 4 and still no cigarettes (or cravings) I know its hard to quit smoking cold turkey.. but gosh darnit! I'm pretty stubborn. lol .besides, I cant do it on my own anyway...only with God's help will I succeed. I did have my thyroid tested and it was fine. One thing I notice that helps with pvc's is some form of phyisical activity. Before I had gone to the hospital, I had started riding my bicyle..only about a mile..but still it was some kind of exercise, and I noticed that during that week..I had very little pvc's if any. So, I guess I will continue to do that. The pvc's arent my scarey concern anymore..its that gosh darn pain..but I will continue to believe that there is nothing seriously wrong..and start taking steps to improve my health. Take care. and keep me up to date on your health. I do care.

 
Old 05-14-2005, 05:57 PM   #10
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Re: Cardiac Cath..should I?

I have just come up with a fairly high score on a coronary artery calcification assessment test. Called a personal friend of mine in Md. who has been a cardiologist for 34 years.
I won't go into all the details, but he said if you really want to know what is going on in your coronary arteries, you should do the cath. These other tests are good in their own way, but there is nothing as difinitive as the cath. Not only that but they are much safer and easier than in the past.
I can only speak for myself, but I want this cloud over my head to pass...one way or another, so I'll spring for the cath.

 
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