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Heart issues - looking for input from Doctors/Nurses or someone with same issue (Read 2980 times)


Runs with the pack

    Background.  Male, 55. Currently 180lbs, 5-8".  Just starting to get back into racing shape with diet and exercise after layoff from two Marathons.  Ran Boston April 2010 in 3:20. I've put on 15 lbs since the race.

     

    Ran last Sunday, 3.5 miles and couldn't keep my normal pace, had to stop and rest a couple times  to catch my wind.  Tuesday I went into the office and after some light work in the warehouse, just standing up raised my heart rate, made me light-headed and I thought I'd pass out.  Had to sit for a few minutes to make it pass.  Happened again two days later at home, and the symptoms are progressing to the point where  I can't walk up a flight of stairs without being totally out of breath. BTW, no chest pain or heart attack type symptoms.

     

    At that point I made an appointment with my GP.  He did an EKG and it looked like I was having a heart episode right there in his office. The baseline EKG from two years ago was totally different the the current EKG.  He referred me to a heart specialist that repeated the EKG and sent me to the hospital for more tests.

     

    At the hospital they ran a dozen more EKGs (same weird pattern), blood pressure (Normal 140/80 or better), did blood work, echocardiagram and an angiograph.  Good news, my heart looked great, like the heart of a 20 year old runner.  Ruled out a heart attack and any kind of blockage.  But they didn't find anything that would cause my symptoms either.  My next appt is in two weeks.

     

    So I am sitting here for the next two weeks wondering WHAT IS IT???

     

    Could it be a virus or infection?  I don't have any symptoms, except night sweats and chills late in the day.

     

    I had a really bad pinched nerve I suffered through (twice) since the marathon in my upper 3-4 vertebra.  Could that effect the brain to heart signals?


    A Dance with Monkeys

      I'm confused.  You say that the ECGs showed an abnormality.  What was it?  What medical term did they use to describe it?  Without that information, any advice you receive will be complete shots in the dark.

       

      Why are your symptoms not all simply attributable to being out of shape?


      Runs with the pack

        I'm confused.  You say that the ECGs showed an abnormality.  What was it?  What medical term did they use to describe it?  Without that information, any advice you receive will be complete shots in the dark.

         

        Why are your symptoms not all simply attributable to being out of shape?

         

        Well the whole thing is confusing!  I posted everything I know at this point since doctors today don't explain much.  I know that EKG's are supposed to have certain patterns and they shouldn't vary over time.  Mine were way out of the norm, every doctor and nurse that looked at them made the same comment.  "Yeah, these aren't normal", was about all I got. 

         

        Definitely more than just being out of shape.  Simple tasks like walking up stairs shouldn't make your heart race to the point you need to pass out.


        A Dance with Monkeys

          See if you can find out the name of the abnormality.  That will be helpful.

          running dry


            5 years ago I had symptoms much like yours. Intermittent episodes where I was out of breath and weak. Most times no symptoms were apparent but became apparent when I tried to run. Other times runs would be normal. 

               After many tests (and months) I was getting an echogram when they detected an abnormal heart rythym. Finally diagnosed with an intermittent atrial fibrillation. I was immediately scheduled for a cardioversion to get me back in rythym, then was on medication (Rythmol) for over 2 years to maintain a normal rythym. That was only moderately successful. A couple other cardioversions were needed over those 2 years.

            Finally got ablation surgery just over 2 years ago and have been pronounced 'cured'. Even 'cured', I have had 2 very brief episodes of fibrillation since the surgery.

              Here's the scary part - this was all preceeded by a 'mini-stroke'. The fibrillating heart (even before I ever noticed any symptoms) allowed blood to clot in my heart and then a piece broke loose and headed for the brain. No permanent damage I guess but a scary few months to a full recovery. From the stroke to finding the cause was over 6 months followed by a couple of years of medication and finally surgery.

               Might be something to mention to your doctor.    


            A Dance with Monkeys

              There are literally 100s of arrhythmias this could be.  The OP saw two doctors, one of whom was a cardiologist.  The cardiologist saw the ECG ans was worried enough to order tens of thousands of dollars worth of testing.  Until we know the actual ECG abnormality, we are all just yahoos shooting in the dark.

               

              I suspect that the arrhythmia is known.  I suspect the GP and cardiologist both know which one it is.  But since we don't, it is useless for us to gues.


              A Dance with Monkeys

                PS.  I don't mean to sound pissy, and running dry, I have tremendous empathy for your own experiences.  However, with no information about the ECG findings, any advice we might give the OP at this point could be misleading or dangerous.

                northernman


                Fight The Future

                  Well the whole thing is confusing!  I posted everything I know at this point since doctors today don't explain much.  I know that EKG's are supposed to have certain patterns and they shouldn't vary over time.  Mine were way out of the norm, every doctor and nurse that looked at them made the same comment.  "Yeah, these aren't normal", was about all I got. 

                   

                  In my opinion, you should not have to put up with "doctors today don't explain much". I think you should call them tomorrow, and insist on speaking to a nurse or doctor to give you a better explanation. Tell them you want their actual diagnosis and an explanation in plain english of what they suspect, and how is it they are comfortable with you waiting two weeks for a follow up. They should also get you a copy of your medical records, as that is your right. Sometimes people don't want to speak up to their doctors, but that's nuts - it's your body (and your money).


                  A Dance with Monkeys

                    That is a fine point.  I would also like to point out that the assertion that doctors do not explain much may be an incorrect overgeneralization. 

                      That is a fine point.  I would also like to point out that the assertion that doctors do not explain much may be an incorrect overgeneralization. 

                       +1

                      and that from a patient's point of view - if a doctor ever told me that a test was abnormal and did not follow with an explanation, my immediate response would be "what do you mean by that". There are people out there that do not want to know the specifics of their condition. If you don't follow through with questions about anything that you don't understand, the doctor may think you fall into that category.

                      Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away...(unkown)




                      Go With The Flow
                      Thyroid Support Group


                      Best Present Ever

                        I have frequently observed docs carefully explaining things that patients don't hear for a variety of reasons. I've also heard docs explain less carefully. The end result is the same though. I've seen this with my husband - he is a lawyer, so educated, married to me - a nurse. We'll sit together and hear the same infoation and he walks out of the office not knowing what the plan is and not even realizing it. Lately I've been going to appointments related to colon ca treatment with a friend who is very organized and attentive, but has a GED. From my pov, the docs have been very careful to provide clear, jargonfree information. They have allowed plenty of time, encouraged questions, repeated key information etc. My role is to take notes and review all the information after the appointments. Still, my friend was surprised to learn that she would be having a colostomy, something that has been said at every appointment. My point - I think that more often than not healthcare professionals do give information, often careful and complete information, but there is often a communications breakdown nonetheless. Take notes and bring a friend/family member for important appointments.


                        Best Present Ever

                          My post had breaks in when I wrote it - not sure what's up with he iPhone posting. Sorry about the solid text.
                            My post had breaks in when I wrote it - not sure what's up with he iPhone posting. Sorry about the solid text.

                             

                            Good post, nonetheless! Smile

                            Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                            running dry


                              Trent, thank you for reminding me why I don't post often...

                               

                              Sorry that my 'advice' to 'mention it to your doctor' was so useless and potentialy dangerous.

                                Trent, thank you for reminding me why I don't post often...

                                 

                                Sorry that my 'advice' to 'mention it to your doctor' was so useless and potentialy dangerous.

                                I don't think that Trent meant that mentioning it to your doctor is dangerous.  I think he meant that assuming a condition with similar symptoms is what you and treating it like that condition w/o knowing for sure can be dangerous.  This would be especially true when a lot of conditions have the same symptoms.

                                'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'

                                 

                                "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher

                                 

                                "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis

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