posted by Douglas Runnels, retired clergy, Rogers, Arkansas, USA, 28 Jan 2002
I had three angioplasties before the main right artery completely blocked. I was told then that I had, during four years, "built" three more smaller arteries to do the job, and was sent home. I had brain work shortly therefater, then moved, so I got no information about how these three will "hold up." Normal worries about cholesterol, exercise, etc., or greater chance of blockage? I feel great, all tests show well, etc. Can someone tell me about what happened to me? Special precautions? Thanks in advance.
Douglas, I am an nurse and an educator in a cath lab in Saudi Arabia, i hope i can help. Basically when one of your arteries block over time, the body is so smart that small arteries that are normally "sleeping" open up and do the job of the artery that is blocked. If you think of it in terms of plumbing, if you get a blocked pipe, the fluid will find another route to get to its destination. It is the same in the heart, your heart muscle needs a blood supply, when it is interrupted, you get pain or other symptoms, these are warning signs and this is normally when these smaller arteries (called collaterals) open up. You dont need to take any special precautions, however, look after yourself, diet, blood pressure and excercise regularly and if you suffer any symptoms (chest pain, tightness, breathlessness) , then see your cardiologist immediately. Best of luck!
Andrina, Prince Sultan Cardiac Centre, Riyadh, 10 Feb 2002

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