Just some questions for those who've gone through an angiogram (and optionally angioplasty). I had this on Friday (almost 4 days ago), and have been trying to rest as per docs orders. I did this due to back pain that was diagnosed as angina, so no heart attack or similar episode, it was just chronic with exercise.
Anyway, being that I'm spending a lot of quiet time at home right now, I'm of course super sensitive to any and all sensations. I've heard that some chest pain can occur that is benign especially after a stent is placed. I will have a little twinge once or twice per day and sometimes a couple of times during sleep.
In addition, I'm wondering what's normal in terms of how the insertion sites heal. I got both done, yay! The wrist has a bruise, but not dark one, going from the beginning of my hand down about halfway to my elbow. It's about an inch wide at most but thins out. Today it feels a little more sore than yesterday, but I haven't any puffiness, loss of feeling, although this morning that hand felt colder than the other, but that eventually went away. As far as the groin, it still hurts sometimes when I walk or apply pressure in a particular spot. It also has very dark bruise, almost like my skin was stained with blueberry juice or something - although it's more black than blue of course.
Just wondering if this is fairly typical. I'm not going to be seeing anyone until a week from tomorrow (follow up), so am trying to keep a close eye on things just in case. I don't want to ignore a real problem, but I recognize that I'm also at a high-level of sensitivity about this stuff probably due to overall anxiety about my health - since before Friday, or at least before several weeks ago when the symptoms started, I always considered myself a basically nearly perfectly healthy person...
Forgot to mention, I've also had a couple of heart palpitations. At most one per day, although one day it was two I think. I've experienced these before, and usually they are somewhat rare, with a couple of exceptions when they were regular for much of a day, but the last time that happened was a couple of years ago. One of the meds I'm on right now is a beta-blocker as well.
I was prescribed Effient for minimizing clotting and have been taking it, but reading all the side effects and issues around taking something like this of course makes me nervous. Not that I'm going to stop, but also just wondering if others had to deal with things differently after going on one of these. I'm apparently supposed to be on this for a year, but I guess what I'm wondering is, what happens after that. I mean, if there's a chance that platelets can build on the stent initially, why does that possibility minimize after a year?
Dave, Joining a rehab. class is the way to go. There should be one associated with the hospital and the fee is usually covered by insurance. If you don't have insurance you may still be able to join, or at least attend. This will answer most of your questions and concerns and help by meeting lots of people in similar post-op situations. You might have to re-access lifestyle factors. esp. diet - avoiding fats, and losing weight if you are overweight. Fresh fruits and vegetables is what I would suggest as the basis for a good diet. Vegan is fine. Light exercise can be introduced but allow time for the groin to heal. You will be on blood thinners for some time so that makes any healing slower. The stent(s) will gradually embed into the artery wall and after 12 months or so you can re-access your need for strong meds. Aspirin is common for many to take as a long term thinner. You should be able to get the Dr's angiogram report (print or CD, with pictures) showing the estimated extent (%) of arterial narrowing in the main arteries. Narrowing is seldom confined to one artery, and some others may have narrowing to some degree. Another angiogram map in say 12 months can be compared with the current one to assess your progress. Cardiovascular disease tends to run in families, but light exercise, careful attention to diet, weight, and avoidance of smoking are the things you can control.
Some cardiologists believe that ALL cardiovascular disease runs in families (talking about arterial narrowing, or so-called hardening of the arteries). And it's from this base that diet, obesity, smoking, and stress etc., modify each individual's response. This explains why some can get obese, and smoke, for example, and still live to a ripe ol' age.
Re. the angiogram. I got a CD with a written report (as delivered to the Dr.), x-ray pictures, and action footage of my heart pumping blood through the arteries so that the marker dye paths (and restrictions) could be seen. Also included was a map of the heart with % blockage marked at any points where there was an obvious restriction (lesion).