Monday, April 2, 2012

Cardiac Testing and Update

2 April 2012
Earlier this year I began having symptoms and felt that I needed to be thoroughly checked out by my cardiologist as well as our “family doctor”. I had headaches for most of February as well as some pains in my neck and heart palpitations. I was also getting winded occasionally. My first thoughts were that I was having a stroke and/or some type of cardiac event. As of last Thursday, 29 March, I am happy to report that all symptoms have faded away and all tests came back with good results. The symptoms were most likely caused by stress/anxiety and when I abruptly took myself off the powerful sedative Clonazepam.

My first stop was with my family doctor. She took a complete blood and liver test workup to check my cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood thickness and liver function. All of those results came back with great results. When I first reported my symptoms to my doctor, she ordered a CT scan of my brain and that was scheduled for later that same day. That was a simple scan that required no dye or injections. The results were negative for any type of abnormality or evidence of stroke. Had there been any evidence, then the radiologist would have ordered a second scan with the dye. All in all, that test took less than 5 minutes.

Without getting into too much detail, I have seen two separate cardiologists. The first cardiologist gave me an EKG (electrocardiogram). This was a simple test where electrodes are hooked up to your chest and a reading is taken of your heart rhythm and electrical activity of your heart. If your heart has been damaged due to heart attack or rhythm problem, it will show up here. My results are always irregular because of the damage from my previous heart attacks. This doctor also had me wear the Holter monitor for 24 hours. This test showed negative results as well. The monitor is a simple lightweight device, attached to your chest with electrodes and attached to your belt or stashed in your pocket. The device itself is almost as small as a smartphone and if you have it strategically placed on your personage, is mostly unnoticeable. A far cry from the first one I had in 2003 which was large and bulky. Of course, you cannot shower for the duration of the test so that might bother you. I had asked this cardiologist to give me a Stress test and an ultrasound of the carotids. He referred me back to the family doctor for that and I found a second cardiologist.

The second cardiologist was a referral from my family doctor and much more attentive to me. We talked about my history and recent symptoms and he ordered the tests I was asking for with no prompting from me. What made it really nice was that all the tests were scheduled for one day and a follow-up with him scheduled for the following day. To prepare for the test I merely had to fast and that was a “nothing after midnight” fasting with a show time at 0700 AM. So no problem! I also had to wear loose or athletic clothing so I wore some Miami Dolphin lounge pants and tee shirt.

The first test of the day was the cardiac Echocardiogram (ECG) which is an ultrasound of the heart. There are several types of ECG’s. I had the non-invasive transthoracic type. The radiologist took ultrasound images and measurements of my heart checking for proper blood flow, heart size and measurements of the heart muscle walls. The test lasted maybe 20 minutes and the only possible objectionable part of the test might be the “goo” they use to help the scope take readings. Normally it’s cold and “gooey” but for this test it was warm and “gooey”. I’m not sure which was worse. However, if you have recently had a heart attack or are recovering from heart surgery, you may experience some sensitivity during this test as the chest area is sensitive for a time after a heart attack and obviously, after surgery.  

The second test was the actual cardiac stress test.  I’ll describe this in tomorrow’s posting as I don’t want to commit “information overload”.

Have a Blessed Day Ya’ll!

Today’s “Did Ya Know?” April is Autism Awareness Month and today is celebrated as “World Autism Awareness Day”. This day has been celebrated for the last 5 years now and was established to raise awareness for autism and celebrating the people in our lives that are affected by autism. The website has ideas for events and fund raising ideas that you can incorporate in your community.

Related Links:

WebMD article on EKG’s and Heart Monitors

WebMD article on ECG

Official Website for the Autism Speaks organization


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I am so glad everything is ok and negative with your heart. I am so relieved...I love you so much, we are one goofy-laughing couple and I love how we are. To you and a very long life.
    love your wife, Terry aka sunnywolfgar