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janiceh109 01-08-2013 07:38 PM

Heart Failure... Help!
 
Recently my mother went for a stress test. After having an ekg and a few other tests the doctor came back and told her that she had a major heart attack which has severely affected the left side of her heart. My mother was not aware of this heart attack, but she did have heart attack symptoms briefly that she ignored about a month ago. The doctor says that the left side of my mothers heart is only working at 20%. This is due to the heart attack. They do not feel as if there are any blockages but have asked her to consider a heart cath. We are both very worried about the cath. I have heart stories of people dying during this procedure or shortly after. My mother is only 56.
She is not swollen but she is experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue. I'm writing because I am really concerned and worried. This came as a complete shock to all of us and I can honestly say I have not been able to sleep since. My anxiety is through the roof to the point where I myself am having horrid chest pains.
My question is has anyone gone through a similar situation like this before?

What exactly does it mean to only have 20 percent function in the left side of your heart? Is my mothers time limited?

Should we consider the cath? Any other questions or procedures we should look into?

Please, anything will help me. I have been researching this nonstop and I can not find much information.
Please.
Thank you all so much.
God bless and hope you are all having a nice new year.

thereseg77 01-08-2013 08:09 PM

Re: Heart Failure... Help!
 
Take into consideration those you have heard died during the procedure. Did they have a poor prognosis from the beginning? Perhaps your mom has more hope. I really hope it works out for you both.

What symptoms was she experiencing? Did she have ANY risk factors? Poor diet, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, family history? Or was it sudden onset?

You can ALWAYS get a second, third or fourth opinion if you want to know more. This will not be your last resort.

thereseg77 01-08-2013 08:10 PM

Re: Heart Failure... Help!
 
Take into consideration those you have heard died during the procedure. Did they have a poor prognosis from the beginning? Perhaps your mom has more hope. I really hope it works out for you both.

What symptoms was she experiencing? Did she have ANY risk factors? Poor diet, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, family history? Or was it sudden onset?

You can ALWAYS get a second, third or fourth opinion if you want to know more. This will not be your last resort. Best of luck to you and your mom!

janiceh109 01-08-2013 08:36 PM

Re: Heart Failure... Help!
 
Thank you for your reply. Her father died of a heart attack at 46. Both of his parents died of heart attacks. This is what is causing concern. Overall, her health and diet are pretty good. What is most concerning to me is the 20 percent heart function in the left side. This seems awfully low to me and as if this is very severe to her health.
Generally, she is short of breath, a little coughing and more tired than usual. Nothing that would strike us that this was occurring inside of her chest for so long.
I have heart of generally healthy people going for a routine cath and having massive heart attacks on the table resulting in their passing. This is why we are debating on whether to risk this and see if there is anything that can be done or keep it as it is (her medication she has been prescribed is on its way) but risk any new problems even death resulting from a second heart attack.

A second opinion sounds like a good way to go for now. She is very stubborn and does not understand that she needs to slow down and stop doing strenuous work. She is superwoman (to me at least) and it is hard for her to let anyone do anything for her.
Thank you for your thoughts!

thereseg77 01-08-2013 11:35 PM

Re: Heart Failure... Help!
 
It seems your mom likes to keep active because sitting around thinking about things can drive people absolutely mad - which is under-stable. However health wise it is definitely important she decreases her activity and perhaps finds something to do that doesn't require much effort and exhaustion on her behalf.

I would try switching to an organic diet. It is concerning she only has 20% of functioning. You may want to seek an opinion from another doctor or cardiologist in your area.

Stay Frosty 01-09-2013 08:22 AM

Re: Heart Failure... Help!
 
Ask her doctors about a CT coronary angiogram as an alternative to a heart cath. A CT will show blockages in the coronary arteries and it's completely non-invasive. Good luck!

Vyking 01-09-2013 10:48 AM

Re: Heart Failure... Help!
 
I had a cardiac arrest during my cardiac cath in 2009 and was revived with a shock from a defibrillator - this doesn't mean it happens to all people, I was just unlucky, I believe the odds of cardiac arrest during an angiogram are 5000 to 1.
I ended up having a triple bypass.

The cause of my cardiac arrest - the catheter 'tickled' the wall of the heart and sent it into an abnormal rhythm (ventricular fibrillation) resulting in cardiac arrest.

A cardiac cath is the only 100% way of knowing if you have blocked coronary arteries.

Good Luck. :)

KristyWAK 01-14-2013 03:45 PM

Re: Heart Failure... Help!
 
I've had a heart catheterization and they are actually very simple procedures. There is a risk when getting one done, but it's actually not very high. I've known a lot of people who have had them and came out just fine. (I was also very nervous before mine). They would be able to put in a stint if she needed one, so that's an added bonus. As for the 20%, mine was that low less than two years ago. Normal is around 60%, so her heart is putting out about 1/3 the amount of blood as it normally should be. This would explain the fatigue and getting short of breath. The heart cath will give them a better view of what is going on exactly so they can better treat her condition.

janiceh109 01-15-2013 10:30 PM

Re: Heart Failure... Help!
 
Thanks everyone for the information and encouragement. My mother is scheduled this Friday for the procedure. We are both very scared but we realize this is needed in order to help her to live longer. We are just nervous about the risks (although it seems that they are very low). Hopefully, the procedure will give doctors more information to treat her more effectively. We are praying that is goes smoothly. Thank you all!


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