I was fortunate enough to have angioplasty performed by Dr. Spencer King at Emory University in 1985. At the time, I was a Captain with Eastern Airlines. The stress of the airline being taken over by Frank Lorenzo and a truly uncertain future, caused the left anterior descending artery in my heart to become virtually completely blocked. The reason that event didn't kill me was I had been running 6 miles a day for some years. The collateral circulatory system in my heart, built up by years of running, carried me through the event with no heart damage.
The big problem with angioplasty is not the procedure, but fear. Men tend to feel that they are indestructible. When an important part of our body malfunctions, it drives a knife into the very essence of the macho image we have of ourselves. That in turn brings on denial and fear.
A renowned plastic surgeon acquaintance called me and asked me to call a friend of his who was about to undergo angioplasty. His friend was in such a state of fear that he checked himself out of the hospital just prior to having the procedure done. A cardiovascular time bomb just waiting to go off.
The cure for the fear all of us, who have undergone angioplasty, feel is of course knowledge and understanding of the procedure. I commend Dr. King and his staff at Emory University in the strongest terms for alleviating my apprehension of having angioplasty done. Perhaps, as a pilot, I have an interest in things technical. I actually watched several television monitors displaying my procedure as it took place. I felt no apprehension whatsoever and found the procedure absolutely fascinating to watch. Without the knowledge Dr. king and his staff prepped me with prior to the procedure, My outlook and perhaps the outcome of the procedure might have been quite different.
Harv LaFollette, Chesterland, Ohio, USA, November 8, 1997
Hi! I am a nurse working with patients status post PTCA. I noticed that some patients cannot stick with the post procedure instructions, s.a. to be flat in the bed for a couple of hours, not to move the affected leg and not to touch the dressing or the femoral stop. Some patients are very nervous about the length of bed rest, or about the fact that they have to use a catheter for urination. They claim that the doctor never told them about this kind of regimen. Some of them are very annoyed that I have to check the affected groin very often or that I have to monitor their vital signs. They pretend that nobody told them about the medical care following the PTCA. My goal is to make my patients cooperate and collaborate with me. We can better identify any complications if the patient is calm and self-aware about what s/he feels afterwards. If any anxiety is sensed I try to identify it and provide my patients with the missing information using a very calm tone of the voice and a lot of reassurance.
Mihaela Marinescu, St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, New York, USA, July 10, 1998
I had a 95% block in the LAD. I did not have a heart attack and I am told I have no heart damage. I had a stent placed. I had the surgery at 1PM and was home the next morning. I went to the doctor for my first check up and he did an EKG. He said it looked OK and I should have a series of stress tests in the next few weeks. I had the first stress test and the nurse said it looked OK. She talked to the doctor and he increased my medicine. No-one said why. I am not allowed to work or do anything except walk around the house. It has been three weeks since the procedure. I know people that have had heart damage and been back to work in a week. My question is why am I taking so long? Is it possible the doctor is not telling me everything? Please respond, my wife and I are really nervous about the length of time it is taking, mainly because there was no damage.
Salvatore, New York, USA, October 28, 1998
I am a 48 year old male professor at a university. I had angioplasty done on my left circumflex coronary artery a week back. A 3mm by 13mm stent was placed at the spot of the 90% blockage. I would like to know from others who have undergone this procedure as to what their post-procedure week was like. Was there any pain or discomfort of any kind in the chest? At times, I have felt sharp but mild pain in the upper left chest area. It lasts for a few seconds. As I have also started to learn to play guitar in this post-angioplasty period, which means my left arm, hand, and fingers are being used in unusual way, there is a certain soreness and muscular-joint pain in the shoulder and lower arm area. Could it be that this left-arm discomfort is being caused by the heart? How can one differentiate between the two causes?
Aura Syed, Northern Michigan University, Michigan, USA, March 6, 1999
Is it common for one to experience fatigue and a very tired feeling in the days after an angioplasty? My 75 year old mother had the procedure done 5 days ago. I guess we expected almost immediate surge of energy, but Mom gets pretty tired. I am wondering if this is normal. She has no other illnesses.
Leslie Welden, Bellingham, Washington, USA, October 17, 1999
Having had angioplasty and a stent implanted 10 days ago, I have the same concerns as does Aura Syed. I too have experienced very minor discomfort in the chest area with an occasional sharp pain in the chest when for example I reach quickly for something. I've heard from a couple of people that have had this procedure that they experience no discomfort at all. This of course is allowing my imagination to run wild. My senses tell me that with 10 days of this, if something was wrong it would have increased in intensity, which it hasn't. But then I think, why doesn't it go away, If there was bruising or something of that sort, shouldn't it have healed enough by now to alleviate these symptoms? For three or four days prior to my procedure I felt great and expected to feel better yet afterwards. Very disappointing. My doctor is very hard to speak with, but tomorrow I will become insistent. His office tells me everyone is different and I should give it more time. Time for what. Regardless, I would rather hear directly from my doctor than office personnel.
Gary Harris, Virgina, USA, October 24, 1999
Hi Everyone: My sister had an angioplasty done on Friday and return to work on today, Monday, with no recuperation. Please let me know if this is normal, for I'm very worried about her. She also had a heart attack 2 yrs. ago. What was your recuperation period if any. Please let me know, I'm so worried that she's working too hard.
Vickie Scott Weed, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, October 25, 1999
Had angioplasty and stent 6 months ago in 95% blocked LAD and have been doing great since then. I vigorously exercise for an hour 5 days a week, cholesterol is incredibly low. Anyone know how long stent and angioplasty can last?
no name given, November 6, 1999
I am 54 yrs, male, live in Jakarta, Indonesia. After having angioplasty my doctor said I can do light excercises, such as walking, whenever I feel fit to do so. One week after the angioplasty then I started walking. I felt warm/hot inside my chest. Then I report to my doctor, he said that I had too much lying down resting. The following days I continued walking again. There is an uphill street, about 25 meters high and 40 degree slope, I walked, then I felt so hot in my chest but kept continue walking because I said to myself "This is only because too much lying down resting". But at the top of the street I felt very exhausted and having cold sweat. For one week I felt discomfort on my chest and difficult to sleep. Then I saw the doctor and he asked me to make treadmill test. The test result is not good because the same hot chest was felt again after 3 minutes testing and then stopped. The conclusion was I had ischemia myocard. Now the doctor ask me to have another catheterization again to find out what went wrong. What I learned from this is that whenever you start feeling discomfort with your chest, although the doctor is very optimistic about your condition, never continue whatever activity you are doing at that time. Hope this information useful to other people too.
Umar Abubakar, Jakarta, INDONESIA, November 23, 1999
I had my AP done on 11/15/99 by Dr. Levine at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, CA. I was watching the procedure on the monitor, and, obviously, it was quite fascinating. I was home the next day, with instructions not to resume an exercise program for four weeks. So far, the healing has been progressing as expected - no pain, no lumps and only mild discoloring of the groin area. There have been no chest pains whatsoever, and, a week following the discharge, I am back to almost normal work regime.
Eric Forster, Los Angeles, CA, USA, November 24, 1999
I have had seven angioplasties with a stent in the LAD that had to have restenting two years later, in other words the second stent was placed inside of the first stent. The reason was that the first stent was a Johnson & Johnson and was actualy two stents in one with a bridge joining the two together in a curve in the artery. This caused a build up of deposits and thus blockage. My doctor used a high speed diamond drill to remove the plaque and then restented with a NIR stent that was one unit, so far it has done very nice. I had the restenting performed at The Texas Heart Institute in Houston by Dr. Emerson Perin. I have to go this Jan. to have an angiogram for blockage in the right cornary. I will use Dr. Perin again.
Roger Murray, Cleveland, Texas, USA, January 2, 2000
Three weeks ago today I saw my internist for indigestion. I mentioned being a little winded while walking fast, uphill. Two weeks ago today I had a cath showing blockage in two areas. My only previous cath was in 1993 showing some blockage in one spot. One week ago today I spent 3.5 hours on the table with stents, plaque removal by a drill, and a balloon used on two spots. Thank goodness for the Foley which if you don't watch out can become pleasantly habit forming. I went home the next morning, went to the office for an hour in the afternoon, and worked a full day the next day. My breathing is not as heavy. I have a slight pain in my chest occasionally. My groin area bruises are clearing up. I have no problems walking around the block. I have a treadmill in two weeks. I feel good. The Rex Hospital nurses were all super. Dr. Nutt was tremendous. I feel like I have hit the long ball and missed the big heart attack my father had when he was 41. I am now 51 and plan to keep avoiding the big one. Spread the word: go to your cardiologist early and often.
Paul Carruth, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, February 29, 2000
Anybody ever had a catheterization in the 60's? I remember it was a bad experience- the table I was on went upside down for quite sometime, not a whole lot of fun. Going for an angiogram Wednesday, 3/22/00. Does this procedure hurt as much as a cath? Thanks?
Pat Jennings, Chicago, Illinois, USA, March 19, 2000
mother-in-law had a angioplasty (cut away the hardened plaque) and stent in
March. In August, the procedure was repeated with a balloon, because tissue
had invaded the stent. She is experiencing pain and taking nitroclycerine tablets
the first week after the procedure. She is 79, worried, and in distress. She
also takes medications, including one to prevent the return of breast cancer--some
cause nausea. There was no diet prescribed aside from a note in the release
papers to follow a low cholesterol diet. Why is there so much pain when the
blockage should be gone? Should she be exercising or resting? What medications
react with each other? Should she cease the anti-cancer medications until her
heart is stabilized? Is a small glass or two of wine acceptable under these
conditions and medications? There really need to be some general guidelines
and expected resulting physical conditions in writing for patients and their
families to refer to. Any input would be appreciated.
C. Curtis, 10 Aug 2000
All. Just had my 11th PTCA and have 8 stents and only 38. I wish I could only
have had no caths but it happened. Yes it's frustrating but I'm at the mercy
of My body. It seems that my body wants to attack itself. The best that I can
do is prolong the cath's with proper diet and exersize. If any one can help
let me know.
David Zemaitis, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 23 Dec 2000
had angioplasty in mid October. A stent was placed in one artery and a balloon
in the other. Five days later I experienced the same severe chest pain that
moved into the left arm and jaw. After being rushed to the hospital, the Cardiologist
performed another angioplasty with the results that I would have to undergo
a quadruple by-pass. After that procedure we were told that the stent and balloon
were by-passed - therefore everything should be corrected. Last week, two months
later, I began experiencing severe pain - so intense and frequent one night
that the only medication that would work fast was nitro. A non-invasive X-ray
done 3 days ago shows that there is a problem in the area of the stent. So,
another angioplasty has been scheduled. Has anyone had a similar experience?
This is so frustrating and disheartening since I really believed the by-pass
had cured all my ills.
D. Brooks, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 23 Dec 2000
had an angioplasty and stents placed in a 90% and 70% blockage in the intermediate
circumflex artery. Do these procedures always fail over time and is it always
necessary to have these procedures repeated?
Linda Little, , Rancho Cucamonga, California, USA, 4 Jan 2001
88 yr old mother has had four angioplasty procedures with the placement of a
stint within a stint on the same coronary artery in less than a year - the physician
states he cannot do a bypass mainly because of mitral valve stenosis - does
anyone have any ideas about this? She does fine for about three or four months
and then it seems to close off - she is a very active individual. Thanks.
JKMerriman, , Lakewood, Colorado, USA, 14 Jan 2001
I had an ACS Multilink stent put inside
my left anterior escending artery, on 1/15/99(3 x 23mm.). Anyone familiar with
this? I have been exercising steadily, 2 to 3 days a week at a gym, after attending
a cardio-rehab program at the hospital. Currently, I play ice hockey one day
a week and take a 40 minute brisk walk 5 days a week. I seem to be doing well.
I take lipitor, toprol, isosorbide, and norvasq, but I would like to get my
doctor to start to reduce this medication. Anyone taking these and / or gone
through the same procedures?
B. Cunningham, , Canton, Massachusetts, USA, 1 Mar 2001
Actually an angiogram and a catheterization are different terms for the same procedure -- but I sincerely hope the table doesn't go upside-down! Technology has changed quite a bit since then. Good luck on your test.
Forum Editor, PTCA.ORG, March 19, 2000
M, 50 & had cath/stent done about a month ago at Morristown Mem. Hosp. in NJ.
I can't say enough good things about the folks there - they are an outstanding
group, and made a potentially scary situation go incredibly smoothly. Not only
were they knowledgable and sensitive, they even managed to find a Faith Hill
CD to play while the procedure was performed! It turned out I had a 90%+ blockage
of the LDA. Since then, the follow-up nuclear stress test shows normal flow,
function well into the normal range & no muscle damage. I'm anxious to get started
with the rehab program. I'd just like to respond to Nurse Marinescu's post above.
I guess there are always going to be some people who are unhappy with whatever
treatment they receive, unfortunately. But as for me, my hat is off to you.
The Foley that my O/R nurse hooked up for me was a great kindness indeed (really)!
As for the frequent inspection of the insertion site, ok, it might be a nuisance
if you're dozing off, but hey, it's also very comforting to know that someone
cares enough to keep on top of the situation. Any of us who have been through
the procedure are aware (or at least should be) of just how important our care-givers
were, and I'm grateful.
Frank Fecher, Long Valley New Jersey, USA, 27 Mar 2001
am a 31 year old female who underwent cardiac ablation surgery in 1999, a complication
of this surgery was the stenosis of my pulmonary vein. About one year after
surgery I started becoming short of breath and had chest pains. Upon a CT scan
and Chest X-ray, the doctors noticed that I had about 15 lesions in the upper
chamber of my lung. We then did a biopsy and discovered that the vein was closed,
and a bloot clot had formed. My question to you is, there is a new procedure
angioplasty then inserting a stent in the pulmonary vein. There is not a lot
of info. on this procedure. I have spoken with a pedatric cardiologist at CHKD
in VA and he has performed the surgery once and is ready to do it again. I am
scared becuase, I jumped in with the cardiac ablation and ended up with this.
HELP, I just need to know where to go to get info on this procedure.
Ann Marie Webb, Norfolk, Virginia, USA, 2 Jul 2001
had 70% blockage. The stent saved my life.North Shore Hospital has extremely
competent nurses and Doctors. My stay was for 3 days.I was not told to follow
any particular diet, however I am on a no fat low fat program.
Anne F.Levine, , Neponsit,New York 11694, 30 Sep 2001
Hi! I had angioplasty with installed
stents last week on three 90% blockages. My question: why aren't we allowed
to receive morphine or other painkiller during the operation? I suffered a lot.
François Faucher, Montréal, Québec, Canada, 15 Oct 2001
I had angioplasty in Oct. 2001.
I developed an hematoma which was horrible. My whole leg turned purple and my
stenting ws put off 4 weeks,so I could heal. I had the stenting and bruised
again and now I have to have another surgery next week because I have a huge
swollen ball on my hip which will not go down, as a result of stenting. Has
anybody else experienced this? Please email me.
Tracy Richardson, Texas, USA, 7 Dec 2001
Hi, I am a 25 year old female
who is recovering from an angioplasty procedure done about 5 days ago. I was
born with a congenital condition which is called coarctation of the aorta, which
was repaired during surgery when I was 5 years old. I had re-stenosis of the
artery, which is common once a person gets older, usually in the 20's, and my
doctor recommended angioplasty with an aortic stent placement. Everything went
really well and the entire experience wasn't as bad as I had thought it would
be. (yup, I had general anesthesia, bladder catheters, bed pans, lying flat
on my back for a good 8-10 hours, nurses checking me a million times an hour,
etc. All of this is a really annoying but they are just making sure that you
are ok.) I also had alot of discomfort which goes along with a procedure of
this nature. I had saved myself alot of worrying and grief by reading as much
as I possibly could about the procedure online, and asked my doctor anything
I could think of that I was concerned of, and this really helped alot when I
was going through all of it. I went into the hospital at 6am in the morning
and went home the next day after noon and I am doing very well. I had trouble
walking during the first day or two of coming home, and slept for like 2 days
straight, but am feeling alot better now and am going back to work tomorrow.
I still have alot of brusing and some slight pain in my groin and thigh area,
but most of the discomfort has gone away. I really recommend that people who
are going to undergo any kind of angiplasty procedure to find out as much as
they possibly can before they have it done, so they definitely know what to
expect. I did and it helped me so much. I hope that writing this response helps
somebody out there who has to deal with this procedure. Thanks! :)
Carla, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 9 Dec 2001
Had two stents inserted in Right
Coronary Artery in May 98. No problems. Also suffer from COPD. Had angioplasty
in Dec 2000 to open same area-restenosis.Three weeks later went to pulmonologist
and lung function was down from 51% to 39% over past year. Is this related to
stenosis or angioplasty?
Jerry D. Lewis, Jayco, Inc, Shallotte, NC 28459 USA, 2 Feb 2001
angioplasty one month ago at the age of 62. Previously I never been an inpatient
and considered as reasonably healthy. Had pain around my heart and failed the
stress test. Naturally felt apprehension on the day before the operation. To
look back I prepared myself pretty well knowing what to expect through reading
various forums in the net. The actual "operation" took just about one hour and
was able to sight the 99% blockage on the video afterwards and wondered how
I could have survived before if it were not for my previous quarterly check-up.
I was not aware of the insertion through the groin and even asked the doctor
when he would start after the operation was completed. The burdensome part was
thereafter having to lie flat for eight hours and not allowed to move on your
right leg. Fortunately I was well prepared for this eventuality in listening
to my cd's which were previously bought and never had time to listen to. Both
the doctor and the nurses! were quite surprised with the light classical music
blaring in the room which made that eight hours just bearable. I adhered to
all the instructions and able to recover pretty quickly after two days though
feeling physically weak for a week. Thereafter have been feeling great in breathing
fully, no longer grasping for air or having headache and my face seems to be
flushing all the time. Now I am surfing through the net for information on the
20% chance of restenosis (close up through thrombosis) and ways to avoid this
chance. So far the gathered information has not been that great but comforting
to know so many who have gone through more than one angioplasty and also the
new stent (not yet well tested) that could reduce the chance to zero. I hope
by the time I need another angioplasty the new revolutionary stent is recommended
for general use. I am ever grateful to those who wrote and shared their experience
with the sufferers. It means so much to all of us when facing with this uncertainty.
My doctor was great on his technical know-how but short on bedside manner. I
still remember after the treadmill test he pronounceed loudly (perhaps with
pride) that I am a cardiac victim and was stared at by four nurses as a strange
creature. At that moment I felt ashamed on being highlighted and the whole world
turned upside down. Fortunately Iam an experienced net surfer -- with the knowledge
gathered from various websites, I didn't see the news as that bad and helped
to soften the doctor's blow immensely.
Aileen, Ek-Siriwit Company Limited, Bangkok, Thailand, 31 Dec 2001
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