Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Heart blog continued.

I left the last blog off waiting on my results from the chemical stress test. The doctor called me Friday June 11th, two days after the test, to tell me the results. He said that the stress test showed that I had some sort of blockage in the front and back of my heart. Well, that freaked me out. The doctor scheduled a heart catheter for the following Wednesday, June 16th, to further evaluate my heart. During a heart catheter they make a small incision near your groin and insert a probe inside of your artery. They snake the probe up into your heart and then release a dye to see how well the blood is flowing through your heart arteries. If they find a blockage the doctor may do a balloon angioplasty to open up the blockage and then insert a stent to keep the artery open. In the mean time the doctor immediately put my on Plavix and aspirin. So, of course, all sorts of questions are running through my mind. Did I have a heart attack? Can I die at any time from this blockage? Will I need the stents?
Well, I went to the internet and started researching stents. They have drug infused stents and bare metal stents. The bare metal stents tend to block back up, sometimes very quickly. There are three main ways that they can block up. (1) The trauma at the site may cause blot clotting. (2) Plaque buildup at the site of the stent. (3) Your artery wall may grow around the stent too much and reduce the blood flow through it. The drug infused stents can still block up from blood clotting and plaque buildup but they do reduce the growth of the artery walls around the stent, at least for a while. Because of the first two reasons you must take blood thinning medication, aspirin, and cholesterol lowing drugs for the rest of your life.
Through all of my research I came to the conclusion that stents are not reliable. The only other options are to have a bypass around the blockages or use drugs to keep your blood thin and try to reduce the buildup in your arteries. Neither of those options seemed like a good idea. So for the 5 days I had to wait for my heart catheter I was really stressed. Those days were filled with a lot of praying to God! The doctors are very set on using these stents and just seem to pop them in at will. I really began to dread the idea of getting stents put in. I figured that would be it for my running.
I finally had the heart catheter and much to my relief the doctor could not find any blockages! I do not know what happened during the chemical stress test to show blockages but the heart catheter did not show any blockages. I was very, very happy about that. I thanked God profusely.
The doctor still made me have an echocardiogram on June 25th. The echo is mainly to evaluate the action of your heart valves. I hope the results of that go ok. It seems like every other test shows some abnormality. I won’t find out the results of the echo until next week. In the mean time I have decided to start jogging again.
On June 26th my family and I have gone on our vacation to the Outer Banks. We are staying on Roanoke Island. I will be doing a couple of runs while on vacation. I am very much relieved that I can relax on this vacation with these potential heart problems behind me.
Have a great day.

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