HEART DISEASE
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I had untreated angina for years - was this dangerous?
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by Shasari, Jan 29, 2014
Hi there,

I have a question about untreated stable, possibly prinzmetals' angina.  I am under treatment for a TAA of 4.1x4.2cm, and also now on Imdur 30mg x2/day and Atenolol 25mg x1/day, and a running prescription for Nitrostat which I carry now at all times.  My first cardiologist refused to acknowledge for 3+ years that my chest pain was heart related.  This went on from 2010 to spring of 2013 when I requested a new cardiologist.

I realize angina pain is caused by a lack of sufficient oxygen to the heart muscles etc.

Here's my question; could the lack of care that I received for 3+ years, having very frequent instances of angina pain, have led to any possible heart muscle damage?  I just had an MRI w/Contrast the other day, but my routine cardiologist is away for "a few weeks" according to my PCP, so now I must wait until he returns to get more information and answers.

Please let me know if I could be in danger of complications due to the lack of proper treatment.

Thanks for your time,

~Dave
Answer:
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by CCFCardio MD2Blank, Jan 30, 2014
Hi Dave, I'm sorry to hear you are having some difficulty.  Severe blockages in the coronary arteries, if left untreated, can cause the heart muscle to weaken over time but this is often reversible with revascularization.  However, this is only when the blockages get very severe.  Many patients have very severe coronary artery disease with completely normal heart pumping function, and damage only occurs to the heart if one of the vessels becomes acutely blocked resulting in a myocardial infarction or heart attack.  If the blockages happen slowly over time, your body enhances its collateral vessels to those areas getting less blood in order to protect the heart muscle.  Prinzmetal's angina is transient coronary vasospasm and would only cause damage to your heart muscle if it was so severe that it caused a heart attack, but this is rare.  Your best bet is to find a cardiologist you trust, have a stress test or a heart cath, and find out if you truly have coronary disease.  
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