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Old 10-06-2010, 08:56 AM   #1
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is an angiogram necessary?

hi... i'm a 59 yr old female. for the last few years, i have been experiencing some symptoms which made my dr send me to a cardiologist. i have high blood pressure, and very high cholesterol, but am now on meds for both and have seem improvement. anyway..i have been getting some discomfort.. not really pain, in my chest, and a very weak feeling in my left arm and it comes at any time..not always after exertion. my cardiologist of course started all these tests, ekg, echo stress, nuclear stress..and although he hasn't told me the findings on any of them...he did say he is not getting the answers he is hoping for, and now wants to do an angiogram. i really don't want that...first because i'm scared, and second...if he feels he isn't getting the info that he wants.. what is it he actually wants???? if these tests aren't really showing much...then why do i need an angiogram? i guess i should tell you that about 10 years ago, i was diagnosed with cad, and an arrythmia, and was on 100mg of atenalol, but i stopped taking it about 5 years ago for no reason at all, stopped going to the cardiologist at the time and forgot about it until the last few months when i went to the dr just to get an rx to quit smoking, and because i hadn't been to a dr in 10 yrs, he did a complete physical, found the high b/p and cholesterol, and sent me to the cardiologist..and now here i am.
so what do you think? should i let him do the angiogram based on his "looking for answers" or just say no?

i forgot to mention this... it started about 5 or 6 years ago, didn't happen again until 2 years ago, and hasn't happened more than once since....what i am talking about is this: i will get a nauseous feeling right in the middle of my chest, then a dull ache in the middle of my shoulder blades. within a minute, that ache travels thru my chest, i get very light headed, break out in a sweat, then the pain travels down my left arm, and leaves me feeling weak...and all of this from start to finish lasts only about 5 minutes. now what could this possibly be? i haven't had it really in about 3 years, but it will come without warning and at any time.. even woke me out of a sound sleep.

Last edited by twin17; 10-06-2010 at 11:59 AM. Reason: i forgot to mention something

 
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

Hi twin17,
Get the angiogram done - it could save your life.
An angiogram is the only certain way to tell if you have blocked arteries.
I had an angiogram 12 months ago, it doesn't hurt - they found severe 3 vessel disease and I immediately had bypass surgery.

 
Old 10-06-2010, 02:04 PM   #3
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

vyking... thanks for your response...but i just don't feel that this angiogram is necessary...from the way my cardiologist said "i am not getting the answers i'm looking for"..what is it he is looking for? if my other tests came back normal, why is he still "looking"? i do know that sometimes stress tests don't always show what they should, but shouldn't the echo and the nuclear test have told him something?

Last edited by twin17; 10-18-2010 at 09:07 PM.

 
Old 10-06-2010, 02:16 PM   #4
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

If he want's to do an angiogram, he'll be looking for signs of coronary artery disease.
The only way to 100% confirm or rule out blocked arteries is by having an angiogram.

An angiogram may save your life - 50% of people who drop dead from CAD have no symptoms.

 
Old 10-06-2010, 02:18 PM   #5
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

ok ok ! i guess i will see what he says. i go back on the 15th to see him. IF he insists, then i will say yes..but if he doesn't bring it up..neither will i !!

 
Old 10-06-2010, 02:20 PM   #6
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

You'll be fine - please don't worry.

 
Old 10-06-2010, 02:53 PM   #7
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

i guess.... but i still don't see why if the other tests came out ok..although i was not able to reach my target HR on either test. i became very out of breath, nauseous and my legs felt like lead...so maybe, just maybe that is why he wants to go further.
like i said.. i see him on oct. 15th...i'll post then to let you know what he said. thanks again!

 
Old 10-07-2010, 09:56 AM   #8
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

Twin,

I'm sort of in the same boat, but it sounds like my cardiologist has done a better job of communicating with me than yours has with you. I had to ask questions, though. I would suggest that you ask him/her to tell you exactly why the angiogram is needed. My guess is that their thinking goes something like this: High BP + High Cholesterol + Smoking + Chest Pain = Let's look and make sure we don't have a blockage. There is no reason for you to be in the dark, though, so ask.

In my case the evidence didn't all agree: An abnormal picture from the nuclear stress test, but no abnormalities on the EKG that went with it, and they couldn't beat me with that treadmill. PVC's seemed mostly benign, except for one recorded set that included an acceleration, but then there is occasional chest pain that may or may not be related. So, they have to take a look.

That said, as someone facing the same test next week I sympathize with you not wanting to do it. No matter how many people tell me that it's no big deal, it seems like a big deal to me. In my head I think that I should feel lucky that I live in a time when I can have this stuff diagnosed without having a heart attack first, but I hate hospitals, I don't trust doctors, and I hate the helplessness that comes with having a procedure like this done. I'm doing it anyway because not doing it, and knowing that IF THERE IS a problem in there I could have a heart attack if I try to resume my exercise, is slightly more scary than the procedure. It still sucks, though.
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:33 AM   #9
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

hi sagey.... well. i actually like my cardiologist. he is one of those rare doctors that spends time with each patient, and he does explain things when i ask. i think he just isn't getting an answer to why i get these chest pains and the weakness in my left arm. i am going to ask him to explain the results of the echo stress, the ekg(s) that he took, and the nuclear stress. other than going in for those tests, i haven't had an app't with him so he could discuss them with me. that app't is next week.
so far my b/p has come down to 140/89, and my total cholesterol has come down from 298 down to 179..so the meds he has me on seem to be working fine, although i don't feel 100% good from the bystolic ..or it could be the simvastatin..or even the wellbutrin... who knows..but the good news is i haven't had a cigarette in 25 days, and they say even after the first 24 hours, your arteries open up a bit. i know that what plaque build-up is already there won't go away, but hopefully no more will form.
so i have a question for you. what sent you to the cardiologist in the first place..do you already have something wrong that they diagnosed? or are they "looking" like they are for me? i guess my dr want's to rule OUT any blockages, as well as looking to see if there are any. it could be possible i have no blockages at all, right???
please write and let me know how you make out, ok? thanks for your input.

Last edited by twin17; 10-07-2010 at 10:37 AM. Reason: errors

 
Old 10-07-2010, 11:03 AM   #10
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

What started me out was PVC's: They were getting worse and what I really wanted was a doctor that I trust to tell me that they were harmless. At first he did, but as we started looking into it (and he started factoring in family history), things became first less certain that they were completely benign, then more certain that they were not. I guess we'll see. I'll let you know what they find in there...
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:26 PM   #11
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

oh gheeze... pvc's, huh? i've had them for over 10 yrs..but other than feeling nauseous sometimes, or passing out a few times, the dr's never said anything about them. are they palpitations?
i thought of something that i could kick myself about. i totally forgot to mention to my dr about my dad when he asked about family hiastory. i told him about my maternal grandparents both dying from heart disease (her stroke, and him heart attack)..but for some reason my dad simply slipped my mind. i guess because he actually died from lung cancer, as did my mom...but they both had high blood pressure, and my dad had unstable angina from his early 50's until he died at 62. he actually was hospiltalized a few times over the years because of it, and did suffer a heart attack 2 days before he died, but they said the cancer killed him...not the h/a.
so i guess i will tell my dr about that next week. i guess i never thought that it mattered, because i know i don't have unstable angina!!!! and he died of cancer. (with both parents having lung cancer you'd think i would have quit smoking a long time ago!!!!) but i had to do it for me.. not because of everybody nagging me.
ok.. i've rattled on and on long enough. i just wanted to see what led you to the cardiologist in the first place.

 
Old 10-12-2010, 11:22 AM   #12
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

sagey... have you had your angiogram yet? do you know any results? and if you have had it... what did it feel like and how long did it take?

 
Old 10-12-2010, 01:11 PM   #13
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

No, it's scheduled for Friday. I've been told that if they don't find anything I'll go home that day after laying flat for a few hours. If they find blockage and put in a stint or two, then they will hold me overnight. I don't know how long the procedure itself lasts; I think it's not too long even if they need to place stints. By that I mean less than an hour. According to what I read I'll be awake during the procedure; I forgot to ask that when I saw my Cardiologist last time. I definitely prefer awake.

I'm NOT looking forward to this, though. I'd like to find a good excuse to not do it, but I can't find one so in I go on Friday. Fortunately, I have a very supportive spouse whom I can count on to advocate for me and support my decisions as the process unfolds.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:40 PM   #14
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

i am sure everything will turn out ok. i hope they don't find any blockages. your health issues sound alot like mine..aside from the fact you do know your test results.. i will find out mine on friday. so while you are having your angiogram, i will be thinking of you and wishing you well. when you feel up to it, post to let us all know how you are doing. and btw...i'm happy that you have an understanding and compassionate wife...that always helps!! unfortunately my hubby passed away 6 years ago..so i am doing all my stuff on my own

 
Old 10-14-2010, 12:14 PM   #15
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Re: is an angiogram necessary?

Twin17 - you really should not worry about the angiogram. It saved my lif. I had 2 blocked artries 98 and 99% in my LAD. Had 2 stents put in. They would never have found it if I would not have pushed the DR. All my tests came back fine and I had normal BP and normal heart rate, but had a lot of chest pains/ back pains and pains in my left arm. better be safe than sorry. I know it is scary with the angiogram but it sounds worse than it is.

 
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