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  • heart cath. ????????

    tomarrow I go for a heart cath at my hometown area hospital and I have been having problems with LOW BP and AF and just found out that my thyroid levels are very low now (hypothyroid side, trying 2 level out from being hyperthyroid) and I am nervious about having this done, besides the fact this is my first heart cath. Anyone got any input?????????
    Jen

  • #2
    Re: heart cath. ????????

    Heart caths are usually not a problem at all. I hope that you have a good outcome.

    Reenie
    Reenie

    ****************
    Husband has HCM.
    3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

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    • #3
      Re: heart cath. ????????

      Good luck with the heart cath. I have not had one done. So I am not any help to you on what to look for. I will pray for you, take care and have a good day.
      Donna B. HCM & ICD. 2 sons with HCM. Brother passed away from HCM at the age of 39. Mother has HCM.

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      • #4
        Re: heart cath. ????????

        Heart cath's are a peice of cake, they give you something to relax you , i don't rememeber the cath going in but i was awake during the procedure

        I first one i don't remember.... the worst is laying down for a few hours to let it clot(the cath sight) that is, but really i hope they don't find anything new and i hope they are able to find why you keep having this AF

        Shirley
        Diagnosed 2003
        Myectomy 2-23-2004
        Husband: Ken
        Son: John diagnosed 2004
        Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

        Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9

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        • #5
          Re: heart cath. ????????

          Jen, Wishing you the best with the cath, I hope you get some good answers that let you come up with a treatment plan to get you back in control again. Please keep us posted, Linda

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          • #6
            Re: heart cath. ????????

            I too was nervous for my cath (13 months ago). I had heard that when they inject the dye, there was a 'burning sensation'.
            I was very happy that the lab tech explained to me that it actually just felt like you did a shot of Jack Daniels. And thats exactly what it felt like.
            Fx

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            • #7
              Re: heart cath. ????????

              Jen,

              A heart cath. isn't bad at all! I remember I went out for pizza the next night with friends from work. Like you, I was really nervous beforehand. The anticipation is MUCH worse that the actual procedure. Just relax and let us know how everything turns out.

              Rene'

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              • #8
                Re: heart cath. ????????

                Hi Jen,
                Relax – that’s your job. The doc’s do everything else. I had my first heart cath back in May of 1985, and it was a big deal then. Now things are quite a bit better and easier. I had my last cath last spring, with maybe a dozen in between, so I’ve been there and done that. To make it simple I won’t indulge in a history lesson, but cut right to what normally happens now-a-days.

                You check in fairly early in the morning and they ‘prep’ you – if you can call it that. They take your vitals – BP, pulse, O2 level, temp, and they stick you – kind of like a blood sugar test, so they can see how quickly you clot. Of course by this time you are in one of those silly gowns that never fit right. (I think the designer had in mind a way to distract you from whatever else is going on.)

                OK, next they give you a sedative – not enough to knock you out – just enough to relax you. They switch you to a gurney and roll you to the cath lab. There they switch you to the cath table and ‘drape’ you – to keep the whole area sterile – and paint your groin (generally on the right side) with that orangey yellow disinfectant.) Then, with a blare of trumpets and generally a joke or two, the doctor arrives all scrubbed and gowned. He’s wearing a mask, but you can still generally tell who he is.

                A word about the table. Over your middle is a big round scanner – generally a fluoroscope machine which has also been draped in plastic, and their may be a shield or two to protect the staff from radiation, since they are exposed to it so much. (They generally do one cath after another through the entire morning.) The doctor will usually go in through the right femoral artery in your groin. (I have had so many they now generally go in on the left side for me.) They will give you a shot to kill any pain, and you generally don’t even feel the shot because that disinfectant has some numbing agent in it also.

                The doctor will then open the artery and insert the ‘introducer.’ This will feel like pressure in your groin, roughly like you were holding a child wearing shoes and the shoe was digging in a bit – not outrageously uncomfortable, and it only lasts for a matter of ten seconds or so. After that you generally feel nothing if it is just an angiogram. They insert long thin tubes through the introducer. These tubes have an easy bend at the end so by turning it the doctor can select what branch of the artery to follow. He can ‘see’ what he is doing by injecting a little bit of opaque dye through the tube and using the fluoroscope machine which illuminates the artery in that area. He can direct that silly tub through your heart to your lungs and all around. On occasion he may ask you to cough. This helps him ‘see’ what he is doing.

                If he finds a blockage and wants to repair it the heart cath will proceed from the angiogram to the angioplasty stage. The doctor will slide an even smaller tube through the other one. This small tube has a balloon on the end (hence the balloon angioplasty.) They move it into the narrowed area and inflate it up to seven atmospheres. This stretches the artery causing little stretch cracks, and pushes the plaque into the widened area, leaving the passage though the area as wide as if there was never a blockage.

                To keep the artery open while it heals in its new size, they insert a stent to support it. This is like one of those Chinese finger game things, only they move it into place in the narrow state and open it wide at the repair site. While the balloon is inflated some people feel some pressure, like the beginnings of a heart attack, and they may ask you for a big cough, but again this only lasts a matter of seconds.

                The whole procedure will generally take an hour or less. They then wheel you out and put pressure on the entry site. I have had them use twenty pound sacks of sand, or clamps, or other methods to hold the incision closed – and now the hard part begins. You have to lay absolutely flat on a gurney with only a thin pad. A few years after your back breaks they will either give you a very thin pillow or raise the head of the gurney a notch or two. A few eternities later they will let you sit up, and a little after that they will let you go home, generally late that afternoon.

                Basically they aim at – in at eight, out at four. It is all done as an out-patient. Of course with my kidneys it now takes me a couple of days, because I have to be pre-medicated and post medicated.

                OK, Jen – I hope they can do something to help you. I know when they fix my blockages I feel great afterward. It’s like getting younger.
                Burt

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                • #9
                  Re: heart cath. ????????

                  Well Burt, I actually had mine 1o years prior to yours, 1975.
                  It was pretty much as you described, in my case they did insert tubes into both groins.
                  They did inject some dye and other drugs to get different reactions from the heart.
                  They did sedate me but not so much that you don't know what is going on, in my case I could view the monitor and watch the tubes go into my heart, watch the dye go thru and watch how my heart reacted to the drugs.
                  During the procedure there is virtually no pain and I found the whole procedure very entertaining.
                  The absolute worse part is after when you have to lay there with the weighted sand bags on your groin waiting for the incision to clot. That was a little sore.
                  Good luck Jen and don't worry, it sounds a whole lot worse than it really is.
                  Every great thing that has ever happened since the beginning of time has started as a single thought in someones mind.
                  So if you are capable of thought then you are capable of great things
                  Good luck and stay well.
                  Glen

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                  • #10
                    Re: heart cath. ????????

                    Good Luck Jen!
                    By the time you read this the procedure maybe almost over.
                    I've had 2 and I agree the anticipation is worse than the procedure and the lying down after is the worse of it all.
                    Hopefully all turns out OK.
                    - Rich

                    Diagnosed with Apical HCM in 2000

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                    • #11
                      Re: heart cath. ????????

                      Hi Jen
                      I had my first cath in 1973. Back then they entered the tube in an artary in my arm. I've had about 3 done that way, but now they go through the groin. In total, I have had 7.

                      I was only 20 when I had my first one and scared to death. Like I have said before, it is the unknown that is scary.

                      Please try not to worry too much. It really is like the others have said, it is a piece of cake.

                      Let us know how things turn out. I'll be thinking of you.

                      Take care,
                      Esther

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                      • #12
                        Re: heart cath. ????????

                        Jen,

                        I was thinking about you today. Hope everything went well and you now have some answers. Please let us know!

                        Rene'

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                        • #13
                          Re: heart cath. ????????

                          Hi, Imagine this... went to get my heart cath done and got as far to get changed into my lovely gown and answering all the 150 medical Q's and then my doctor comes in and says that one of the x-ray machines broke this morning and couldn't do my test, so we are gonna shoot for next wends. Me and my mom had a bad feeling about this and I think God had it be this way for a reason?! The nurse there asked me about looking so pale in the face today, and if that is normal for me, which it is not, I have been looking as bad as I feel lately.
                          Jen

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                          • #14
                            Re: heart cath. ????????

                            Hang in there, Jen. I would imagine you have mixed feelings about it being cancelled vs. just getting it over with. I hope this wk goes quickly for you and you feel well while you are waiting. Linda

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                            • #15
                              Re: heart cath. ????????

                              oh, Jen. Like you said, maybe it's good that you didn't. You'll probably feel better by next week....you know that I'm thinking of you....hang in there, ok?
                              We are ALL pulling for you!

                              Sincerely,
                              Cynthia
                              \"It is not length of life, but depth of life.\"

                              Ralph Waldo Emerson

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