Friday, January 9, 2009
Beat goes on
Turns out I don't have heart disease. That's the outcome of today's cardiac catheterization, and I couldn't be happier.
Well maybe I'd be happier if I didn't need to undergo the procedure. But shy of that, I'm about has happy as can be.
A couple weeks ago, we thought I may have had a heart attack. The symptoms matched and it had the Dr. Catherine Seal of Approval. But after today's procedure, there's no blockage to be found. So my climb up Mount Everest earlier this week on the doctor's treadmill kind of threw Dr. James Miner for a loop.
As he said, they'd either find nothing or something. I'm very happy, and so was Dr. Miner, that the test found nothing.
Conducted by Dr. Alejandro Franceschi, the cath went smoothly and did discover one thing -- my heart has one anomaly. An artery in the heart branches out at the wrong place and then doubles back to its proper location. It's weird enough that Dr. Franceschi plans to send the films of my exam to a doctor who compiles all the weirdness that has to do with hearts in a book, sort of the Guinness Book of Records but for hearts.
The procedure begins with a shave and a haircut -- two bits -- and the usual IV and a swap from my bed to the procedure table in a very refrigerated room. Monitors are suctioned to your body and a sterile drape is placed over most of the body. Once the doctor steps in, things move quickly. He injects local anesthetic to the groin and a short time later the catheter is already inching its way up the femoral artery to the heart -- a show that's visible on a computer monitor above the table. Once in position, the doctor injects a dye that shows up on the screen. That's when the docs can examine the various arteries for blockages.
After the procedure, a nurse applies pressure for a while and you're sent back to a recovery room, where another nurse applies pressure for about 20 minutes, followed by two hours of sedentary rest with a sand bag adding pressure to the site to ensure it seals. You don't want the femoral artery to leak.
Honestly, my jitters before hand were quite misplaced. I barely felt the catheter enter my body and had no discomfort at all during the procedure.
Another obstacle overcome.