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    Old 12-29-2006, 12:45 AM   #1
    JeanCS
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    Heart Cath soon

    Hello, I'm a newcomer here. I'm a bit scared and looking for first hand info on having a heart cath test. I've had most all heart tests. The last one being a Heart ct scan. This showed calcification in 3 arteries, as well as a lesion in one. My Dr doesn't believe he'll find significant blockage. I have eratic blood pressure that goes from 200/120 to 70/40 in a matter of minutes or hours. I'm afraid this test will finally show what's causing this constant dizziness and I'll be rushed into surgery for an open heart bypass. I'm hoping I'm overreacting due to my extreme FEAR of invasive procedures. As for the test, is it painful?? I've heard horror stories, yet others say it's nothing. I've demanded my dr give me morphine, valium, and versed just in case it's as bad as some say. He agreed, but doesn't see the need. This has been going on 3 years, and out of all the cardio dr's and neuro dr's, noone can find the cause or correct treatment. Any information or reassurance would be most appreciated.

    Thanks.....Jean

     
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    Old 12-29-2006, 02:01 AM   #2
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    Re: Heart Cath soon

    JEANCS,

    I have had the same procedure done to me and the only thing I felt was a little stick when they stuck the needle in at the groin to do the test. They will give you something that will keep you calm. I laid there on the table and watched it on the screen, like I knew what they were doing to me. But it is not painful, and they even did the balloon thing on me where they release something to try and bust the blood clot up and I never felt anything. Try not to let this worry you, but I know it's easier said that done because I was sceared just like you but there is nothing to it.

    I go in Jan 4th because I have got blockage in both legs above the knees and they are gonna do the angiogram on me again. They will only be able to fix one leg though and then I will have to go back for the other surgery.

    Good luck!

     
    Old 12-29-2006, 06:06 AM   #3
    Lenin
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    Re: Heart Cath soon

    Jean,

    Don't be fearful, the test (angiogram) can be fascinating.

    IF you absolutely do not want bypass surgery done, TELL your doctor in writing that unless your life is immediately on the line you don't want surgery without your consent. Have a proxy in the waiting room with these exact instructions. If you are not conscious, let the proxy make any decisions for you. I did exactly that!

    Did you have all those tests JUST because of the variable blood pressure or did you have other symptoms?

     
    Old 12-29-2006, 09:42 AM   #4
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    Re: Heart Cath soon

    Hi Jean,
    A cath induces no pain whatsoever, It is necessary there is no pain because you will be awake in the event it is necessary you change a position.

    A heart ct scan is a very good test for artery blockages, and your doctor believes there is no significant blockage. So I am reading between the lines as I can't believe the cath is looking for blockages as a fast heart rate may a problem as well. And the cath can measure gradient pressures across the valves.

    If you have tachycardia (abnormal fast heartbeat), a cath with electrodes (not a balloon as angioplasty) is threaded to the heart in an attempt to trigger serious arrhythmia, and it will help determine what part is causing the arrhythmia. It will also help determine the most effective treatment for the fast heart rate. That could be an influence for HBP.

    If there was going to be cath it doesn't make sense to do a CT scan...a cath measures pressures, valves, arrythmic, as well as blockages. There will be no open heart surgery and no pain!!

    Last edited by started04; 12-29-2006 at 10:53 AM.

     
    Old 12-29-2006, 11:40 AM   #5
    JeanCS
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    Re: Heart Cath soon

    First off, thank all of you for responding so quickly. I feel much better about this test now. I'll still ask to be sedated b/c I have a chronic back problem, which will make laying flat very uncomfortable. At least I'm not as afraid of the procedure itself now!

    CoyoteBound....Looks like our angiograms are back to back. Mine is Jan 3rd. I hope yours goes well and they're able to clear the blockage in your leg. Will this test show if I have blockage anywhere in my body, or does it mainly show the coronary arteries? Good luck to you on the 4th.

    Lenin....Thank you for the advice about the proxy. My dr knows my feelings on this, but I'll make sure it's in writing. No, I didn't have all the heart test just b/c of iratic blood pressure. I have constant dizziness, vertigo, stomach pain, aching in sternum, nausea, and irratic bp. My blood pools in my legs. I can't stand in one spot for more than 2 minutes w/out almost passing out. They put me on a Florinef (steroid) to help that. It does keep my bp from bottoming out, but it also shoots bp up too high. All the dr's say this is complex b/c of having both high and low bp. Six cardio dr's later, I'm still searching for the right treatment. For now, I'm on 100mg of Metoprolol and I'm somewhat better....other than it makes me extremely tired.

    Kenkeith....thanks for the input about the heart ct being a good test for detecting blockage. This dr I have now is a cardiac electrophysiologist. I've worn a heart monitor for one month.He says my heartbeat is in a normal rhythm, just too fast. So far he doesn't know what is causing all these symptoms. He's just doing the angiogram next week b/c the heart ct showed a lesion in one artery and calcification in a few others. He doesn't believe this would be causing my symptoms, but it still needs to be checked out.

    Thanks again....Jean

     
    Old 12-29-2006, 12:41 PM   #6
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    Re: Heart Cath soon

    He's just doing the angiogram next week b/c the heart ct showed a lesion in one artery and calcification in a few others. He doesn't believe this would be causing my symptoms, but it still needs to be checked out.

    I see. Calcification was observed with a CT, but there is still a risk there is soft plaque or non-calcified plaque blockage involved with the lesion that the CT image doesn't show clearly. Thanks for your response. Take care.

     
    Old 12-29-2006, 11:25 PM   #7
    JeanCS
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    Re: Heart Cath soon

    Kenkeith....you're right, my dr said the same thing about the ct not showing a clear picture of the degree of blockage. He said a stent may be all that's required. THen again, maybe nothing will have to be fixed if blockage is minimal. He mentioned I would have a warm flushing feeling during this angiogram. Is it similar to the the feeling of a heart ct? Also, do you know if this test shows the arteries through the whole body, or just the coronary ones? If not, does anyone else know this answer? I guess I'm hoping this test will put my mind to ease of any blockages anywhere. I have many high risk factors that concern me. Thanks.......Jean

     
    Old 12-30-2006, 05:31 AM   #8
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    Re: Heart Cath soon

    Jean,

    The dye used is somewhat toxic so it is used sparingly. The doctor will squirt a little several times into each of the major coronary systems. If one is hypertensive a sqiurt into the renal arteries will show any blockage to the kidney.
    I asked my cardio to "squirt my aorta" to see if there were any signs of aneurism and he said he can't because that much dye is risky. So no, they can't do the whole body.

    The warm feeling lasts only a very few seconds and is not unpleasant just VERY weird!

     
    Old 12-30-2006, 10:59 AM   #9
    JeanCS
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    Re: Heart Cath soon

    Thank you for the info concerning the dye, Lenin. I don't like surprises, so I feel much better knowing what to expect during this angiogram. Thanks to all of you for your replies and much needed support. This board is really great! Wishing you all good health in the coming New Year!!...............Jean

     
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