Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cath-cam Capers

Forced to cut short an email correspondence with Reader_Iam late Wednesday night with the message, "You'll have to excuse me, but I need to go to the ER right NOW," I had no idea that I was about to give a noted cardiologist one of the thrills of his life, watching a cardiovascular spasm from the inside of the descending left ventricle. (As the heart catheter camera was what brought about that particular spasm, I have a sneaking suspicion that he might have repeated the experience once or twice before moving on to check other parts of my heart.)

The spasms began Wednesday morning and occurred with increasing frequency and pain as the night wore one. I'm not quite sure the ER staff believed me as, each time I reported one was occurring, by the time they wheeled the EKG machine in and connected it, the espisode was over. Fortunately, one of them happened to be looking at the routine vital signs monitor while others were getting the EKG machine, and what she saw got everyone's attention. After that, it was on to the heart ward for an angiogram which revealed no damage or restricted arteries. A calcium-blocker has been prescribed to prevent the spasms recurring and seems to be doing the job (although giving me a persistent headache).


peter hoh said...

Glad to hear that you are doing better. And thanks for contributing to that doctor's experience. I'm sure someone else will benefit from this.

I've had a couple of ER visits. None quite so dramatic, but on one visit, the junior staff couldn't figure out what to do, and a senior doctor got to use me as a teaching tool.

amba said...

What a thing to come back to your blog and find!!! Glad you're OK. What does a cardiovascular spasm feel like? Did you think you were having a heart attack? What can it do to you if you don't treat it, besides hurt? (I know, it sounds like I'm collecting hypochondria fodder, but I'm not.)

Internet Ronin said...

When it happened in the morning and afternoon, it felt like it was probably indigestion (OK, I admit it - I tried hard to convince myself that it was probably that. The evening episodes got stronger each time, and by the third one, it definitely resembled the time I had a heart attack, although the pain was not severe. Felt like pressure rising across the chest and a weakening of the arms for about a minute, and then it was gone. (Then again, by that time, I was popping Nitrostat.)

Once in the ER, the episodes came on about every 45 minutes, lasted about 2 minutes and got more intensely painful so that the last one there had me thinking I really was having another heart attack. From what they said, untreated it could eventually cause a heart attack if the spasm dislodged plaque and that in turn blocked an artery. Or at least, I think that is what they said - I was only mildly coherent during that discussion. I'll find out more when I see my cardiologist next week.

Michael Reynolds said...


reader_iam said...


Internet Ronin said...

Pater: Thanks for your thoughts and I hope you are right about it proving useful. (I was in very good hands and I am thankful for that.)

Michael, truth be known, my thoughts were more along the lines of this poster.

And thank you, too, Reader_Iam.