Friday, March 2, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

So, it's like this: I have Angina. A brief test on a treadmill for a cardiologist was enough to get him worried, and scare me.

So I was summoned to hospital for an angiogram.

Now I'm a coward from way back, so having to be subjected to medical procedures is un-nerving for me. And to make matters worse, I had to hang about after being admitted until the specialist was ready for me; it did wonders for my nerves!

Anyway, the procedure was, for those not sure, the insertion of a tube into an artery, in my case, in the groin. Into the tube was put a purple dye, the progress of which around my circulatory system was monitored by the specialist and the technicians. It was all over in less than an hour, and I was sent back to my little room.

Once there I was 'trussed'. You see, I had a hole in an artery, and the staff were understandably cautious about me bleeding - a caution I was only too happy to go along with. Although it did mean a small degree of discomfort. But that only lasted a couple of hours, during which I was fed and watered. As the nurse was satisfied that the risk of me bleeding had passed I was allowed to go home about 7:30pm.

If you look at the two images above, you'll see what the problem is. The upper image is the left-side of my heart; the lower is the right-side. In the lower image you should be able to make out a network of dark lines which are the arteries in the heart (they stand out because of the dye inserted). The problem is that the same network is not present in the upper image, apparently because the arteries are blocked, and so the dye didn't flow through them. It seems that this has developed ove a period of time, during which the 'healthy' side has developed to compensate for the blocked side, and in the words of the specialist, the situation is "quite stable".

So what was the outcome of all this? If you can read the discharge notes above, Well Done! What it amounts to is that I am likely to have to have either a stent (or possibly stents) inserted or by-pass surgery. It's not yet decided, but the specialist has seen enough to know what the options are and is taking a week to decide which is the better of the two.

No comments: