Hi, I'm an old timer to HealthBoards but a newcomer to the Heart Disease board.
I'm hoping that someone here is a general "helper" to folks like me who need some basic hand-holding and help beyond what can be searched out on the internet.
My 49 yr old husband had shortness of breath and crushing type pain in his chest and had a stress test on Friday that showed "evidence of blockage".
He is scheduled for an angiogram (angiography??) next Tuesday (only because they were already full on Monday).
I guess what I'm not clear on is IF the angiogram shows significant blockages would they do the angioplasty right then and there or would there be a day or two between procedures? I'm more familiar with open heart bypass surgery to be honest because my dad had two of them prior to his death from colon cancer (which is where I first found how much help HealthBoards could be)
And can any of the red-meat type guys out there tell me how I should handle it if Mr. Ruth ends up ordering the 24 oz prime rib at a restaurant down the road?
How should I handle a guy who will want to do the right thing, but just has to have that big ol' cholestrol filled piece of red meat every once in a while?
I won't have alot of say so on what he eats during the week because he 1/2 owner of a business and he's there in the evenings...
Hopefully we've caught this early, but I know he's a stubborn guy and won't want to have me telling him what he can & can't eat.
ANY first hand info on the above procedures we're facing/may face this week would be appreciated!!!
I had coronary angiography in January of this year because I had "failed" a nuclear stress test. The cardiologists told me that if they encountered blockages, stents would be installed in a separate session.
In some cases reported here, stents are installed at the time of the initial angiogram. I don't know what the difference may be, except that I had six bypasses in 1981. I noted that the first task the cardiologist undertook in the catherization was to map the bypasses and assess their condition. That may have been the reason for planning two sessions in my case.
It turned out that there were no significant blockages, so the initial catherization was all that was done. It turned out that the reading on the nuclear stress test was a false positive, probably because of the extensive bypassing done in '81.
I have read most of your posts on other boards, and am sorry I can't be more helpful.
I would assume that stents will be installed if your husband has significant blockages rather than just doing angioplasty without stents.
One more point: if your husband insists on a eating 24 oz fatty sirloins, please insist that he takes a good choloresterol reducing medicine like a statin.
In the last few years, I've eaten mostly what I want, including sirloins a couple of times a week. I have taken Lipitor for years and have an excellent lipid profile and clear coronary arteries. But for about 20 of the 24 years since the bypasses, my wife watched what I ate like a hawk. We have relaxed that somewhat in our old age, but I don't get reckless about it.
Hi Ruth Wow.....boy am I glad I sensed your absense....and glad you came over here to seek some support. Seems like Bill answered most of your questions and concerns.
Goody wants you to know as you already guessed that you are in my prayers. I know that you are worried and like Bill said they will get a much clearer pic with the angiogram (in which dye is injected into the artery to visualize the extent of blockage and where) and if necessary they will inflate a balloon that will stretch out a given area to reduce the amount of blockage. As Bill already indicated a stent may be necessary depending on how much blockage and how many arteries are clogged.
I hope this alleviates most of your concerns. As for the steak....hey you ain't gonna stop him but you can monitor his cholesterol levels and use the statins if necessary such as Lipotor as Bill already suggested. I imagine the stress at work must be of concern to you also but I have heard that many people who have worked their entire lives with great stress and then all of a sudden retire end up having heart attacks just as readily....go figure
Please know that you & Mr. Ruth are in Goody's prayers. I am here for you and you can call on me anytime....of course I will feel it first and most likely call on you ((((HUGS)))) ~ Goody
Last edited by goody2shuz; 09-25-2005 at 07:21 PM.
Thank you so much Bill, looks like we've both been on the boards awhile -
I especially appreciate the hints on his diet; reading between the lines I think I'm hearing "Don't Nag!!"
My mother went so far as to boil hambuger after cooking it, pressing it and boiling it again. Needless to say her goulash had NO taste!
For some reason Mr. Ruth seems to think that the cardiologist told him the angioplasty (if needed) would be done separate from the angiography.... which made no sense to me or my sister (who works in medical records) since the catheter would already be in place from the first procedure.
I'm trying hard not to obsess but may stop by here again before Tuesday if I start getting cold sweats!!
Thanks to you and to anyone else who walks awhile with me to see how this all turns out...
Yes...Ruth, you are at home and I am here at any capacity you may need. You just let me know if you need any questions answered....I will do my best to answer them and if I can't I will be here to just hold you hand which we already know we're good at!!
Hang in there....why are they waiting to do the angiogram?? That is my concern....is he still having some pain or shortness of breath???
I think that it was the timing.
He called his GP last Wedn evening, got in there Thursday morning.
They had the stress test scheduled for Friday - and the Cardiologist wanted to do the angiogram Monday but was totally booked already.
They did give him an Rx for Nitro with strict instructions to go the ER if the 3 tab rule didn't end any chest discomfort.
He really isn't the type to have alot of mental stress - but he does seem to be having problems with the physical stuff - that's what led to him calling the doctor. He went up 3 flights of stairs (a common occurance) and was winded, and he carried one of the 40 lb boxes of kitty litter down to the basement (very common over the last 16 yrs) and was short of breath & totally wiped out.
Goody do you have some close connection with heart problems or did you just come here cause you knew I'd be here?
My patience & perspective for many issues on the Relationship Board are a little taxed right now & I'd hesitate to make light of someone's dating pain just because Mr. Ruth (bear with me now!!) is ripe for a massive heart attack leaving me not only without my husband, but without my very best friend in the whole world!
You don't know how much I appreciate you - and don't think I don't want to hear about K., ok?
Ruth, my friend, you are sounding quite winded yourself. and I want to help you....I found you once you posted on my thread....it isn't difficult to find somebody you care so much about here
My MIL and FIL both have had numerous heart attacks. My MIL does have a stent and both have had their share of angioplasties. I think you could use a laugh...the last time my FIL needed a stress test as an inpatient he signed himself out!!!
I honestly don't know for sure but I thought as you do that an angiogram/angioplasty CAN be done at the same time.
Ruth.....if your husband has any further symptoms PLEASE bring him to the ER. Give him the nitro and just go to the ER and tell them he is having shortness of breath and chest pain. They will do all the necessary tests on an emergency basis. Did they do an EKG??? And was it abnormal???
I do not wish to scare you but it is my thinking that with an abnormal stress test an angiogram is usually scheduled ASAP....I brought Tom into the ER with chest pain and they admitted him for observation and ran all kinds of tests....and they didn't release him until his stress test was okay. With an abnormal stress test the usual routine is careful monitoring as an inpatient a cardiac cath, angiogram & angioplasty/stent bypass if necessary depending upon the type and amount of blockage noted. PLEASE take Mr. Ruth to the ER if he demonstates any abnormal symptoms.....give him the Nitro and get him to the ER. ((((HUGS)))) ~ Goody
Ruth ~ I am retiring for the night but will check in on you here first thing in the morning.
Before I go I just wanted to let you know that my last post was not meant to scare you.....just to in my loving way let you know what to do if need be. If there is any doubt regarding symptoms get Mr. Ruth checked out before Tuesday. If you go to the ER even if he is just not himself...tell them he IS having chest pain so that they will see him immediately.
Your cybertwin is here carrying you through.....I know how worried you must be....he IS your best friend and he will be around for a long time yet. Perhaps this is just a sign for him to slow things down a little and spend some time with his wonderful wife You've been praying for that and you do have a way of getting the prayers answered around here!!! May He grant you peace for a good night's sleep.
Prayers & ((((HUGS)))) ~ Goody
Last edited by goody2shuz; 09-25-2005 at 08:44 PM.
A quick message to tell you that I am watching him like a hawk for chest pain. My mom is a retired nurse, my sister works in medical records, my other sister was at a medical library - and I work part time at a funeral home!
His EKG was fine - they did that at the doctor's office on Thursday. That was good to know. And don't worry about my tone - I'm the type that tends to consider ALL the possibilities (even the ones that most people shy away from) so that I'm a little prepared for any eventuality. He isn't telling his folks yet because his mom is just way off balance when it comes to stuff like this. Besides, we really don't know what we're looking at yet!!
I just can't begin to tell you what your friendship means to me...
Good Morning, Ruth It's great to know his EKG was fine. Let's keep our fingers and toes crossed hoping that Mr.s Ruth's stress test was only a false positive like Bill's
I hope you slept well and that Mr. Ruth did too with you watching him like a hawk.....I don't know how he could
Try not to baby him too much, it'll drive ou both crazy Just be smart and attune to what signals his body may be giving.
One thing I thought of is that heartburn often takes on the signs of a heart attack and often is precipitated by lifting of heavy objects. I had an episode of that once with the pain even readiating down my shoulder & arm.....and all due to severe heartburn.
In any case.....I think that this is just what you & Mr. Ruth needed....a clear sign for him to S-L-O-W down. Yes.....Ruth, you sure do have a way of getting what you want.....not exactly the way that you would want, but still, you have been heard.
Have you noticed Mr. Ruth taking it easy all on his own??? Has he been coming home earlier than usual??? Hmmmmmm......this may be the blessing in disguise that we have been waiting for.
I will be in & out today....picking up K.'s car
You just sit tight & keep us posted.....he's going tomorrow, right??? The waiting is the worst part of it all. I will get fire up the coffee upon my return.
Make sure ahead of time that the person doing the angiogram is a person qualified to do angioplasty and stent, i.e., a qualified cardiologist.
Having two procedures when everything can be done in one is unnecessary risk and unnecessary worry and often unnecessary expense.
I had everything done in short of an hour and that's the only way to go.
I even skipped the stress test, my symptomatology was so pronounced and long lasting (a decade.)
It was very clear to me that I had a major blockage and I chose the best cardiologist in New York WHO DID ONLY PERCUTANEOUS WORK (no bypass) and had a record of many angioplasties and NO DEATHS. (NY State requires online records of the results of this procedure for every doctor in the state.)
Make sure you are prepared and your wishes known if the results are "significant blockages requiring bypass"...don't be caught off guard. My doctor said that he had a surgeon on standby if a bypass was needed and I gave him WRITTEN instruction that he was NOT to proceed with bypass unless I, or my legal representative in the waiting room in the event of my being unable to respond, gave the OK for bypass.
"Failing pre-approval, DO NOT DO A BYPASS unless my life would end in a few minutes without it and I was unconscious, i.e., basically a torn artery or a severe heart attack caused by the procedure."
I did not want a bypass except in case of imminent death. I'd have preferred conservative treatment if stenting wasn't possible. I still feel that way. But that's a personal choice that I have thought about long and hard.
Good luck to you both tomorrow...it can be a piece of cake!
Oh, find a picture of someone splayed open during a bypass operation. Print SEVERAL copies. Everytime he tries to order the 24 ounce slab of PRIME (fatty) beef hand him another copy of the picture.
If that doesn't do the trick go to canetary and take several pictures of gravestones and ask him his preference ...show him a different stone each time you walk into a restaurant. If you could Photoshop a couple "Here Lies DUMMY" on some of them, that might help.
How about asking: "Dear, would you like to be buried with the rest of that steak if you don't get to finish it?"
I had an angio and stents done 3 months ago. Several things you should know.
Intervention Cardiology is the placement of stents to keep blocked arteries open. At the time of the procedure the doctor can decide to place stents. This should all be discussed ahead of time. The type of stent etc. (Drug eluding stents are the best approach based on research. I had several placed in two operations over 2 weeks. I had >90% and >75% in Left and right. Could not breath and needed help fast.
Understand that it isn't the steak that is bad. It's the overall approach to maintaining health. Change in lifestyle (exercise, nutrition and understanding the workings of the disease) are in order. You can have the steak if it is balanced in the diet over time.
Follow up and lifelong review of the progress would be next. It is never over and blockages can re-occur since it is a disease that needs to be controlled.
I just want to be amongst those supporting you here and to let you know that you can count on my prayers for your husband. You give such wise advice here to so many … I also pray that God gives you the strength and guidance you need in these difficult moments.
Thanks to Fizzickle, Lenin, snacht & thanks to my other board buddies Goody & heartlandguy for all the support!!!
I feel like I'm back on my first days on the Colon Cancer board where the terminology is fairly new and you feel like you'll get it sooner or later but you wish you understood it all now. Right now!
His cardiologist is top-notch so that's reassuring. I just wish I could have been there at the preliminary visit with him. We had the stress test in the morning and then I ended up going into work so that the Home would be covered so I wasn't there for some of this.
It sure didn't make sense to me either that they would wait after the angiography and do the angioplasty a different day.
I'll let you all know how it goes tomorrow.
I appreciate all the prayers and good thoughts!
(I have to tell you that I love the idea of having a few 8X10 glossies of a cracked open chest on hand when we go out to dinner!)