I am a 52 year old male. My family has a history of heart diease. I have tried to limit all risk factors except for herdity. I was in good shape until last month when I started to feel a burning sensation. I went to gastro doctor and had a endoscopy and colonscopy done. Both were negative. I then went to a heart doctor. He did a nuclear stree test and found something abnormal. He scheduled a heart cath and found one of my 6 arties had a 50% blockage. This 50% blocked artery was off the main artery. The only thing he recommended was to increase my liptor from once a day to twice a day since my LDL was higher than my HDL even though my overall Chro was 144. I continue to have a burning sensation in my stomack and get very fatigued easly just by walking He said to only come back if I have chest pains. Why didn't he recommend a stent ? This is like walking around with a time-bomb ....
Stents are not indicated for blockages of 50%, I believe 60% is the minimum blockage required for therapy. Typically, medications are standard for your current condition. Do everything you can through diet and exercise to control your risk factors. You are not a walking time bomb with A 50% blockage in one artery. Do seek help if your symptoms get worse.
This is what the Cardiologist told my sister in law who btw has got very good Insurance. She had to undergo a catherization and they found that one of her arteries is 75 % blocked. She wanted a stent, and the Cardiologist said they are now treating blockages with medication, and prescribed meds for her.
The symptom I pay really close attention to in breathlessness. Becoming tired can be a symptom of being overweight, out of shape, lack of sleep, etc. Exercising regularly for me is a necessity to monitor how well I am breathing, as I have quite a history of blockages. I'm just out of the hospital with two more, and I went right to the Cardiologist when I couldn't do my usual twenty minutes on a cross trainer, in two minutes I was panting and had some chest pain. The two areas on the RDA were earlier identified during a Cath as being 65% blocked, finally they gave me trouble, I was blocked 90%. During this procedure I learned I have three (unmedicated) stents that are now blocked 60% after re-opening them as best they could, and I will have to have bypass next trip. I'm in no hurry, believe me, and be assured a daily workout remains in my future so I can monitor my heart health as well as maintain a degree of fitness. Again, I feel fatigue can be caused by many, many factors, but being short of breath (SOB) really cuts to the chase. I urge you to walk or do other aerobic exercise and learn your limits, it will pay dividends when the blockage gets worse, as you will be more in charge of your health and will have more peace of mind. It is a real shock to learn of a blockage, and it is something that you need to stay on top of, and exercise is the very best preventative and diagnostic tool in your toolbox. Good luck to you.
Stents aren't used for a 50% blockage. The doctor wants you to wait and take medication because he doesn't want to have to do unncessary surgery--plus, these drug-eluting stents can become clogged up with blood platelets (occlusion) and scar tissue can still form when the drug wears off. If you ever do need a stent, you'll be put on Plavix to prevent this type problem with this type of stent (which I consider a manufacturing malfunction--what if you need another surgery but can't go off the Plavix because of the dangers of blood clots? There are even newer stent designs being worked on, but they won't be available to the public for quite a while yet.)
One thing-- watch that artery. Plaque builds up fast. I would take a stress test at least every 6 months--perhaps more, if you're really concerned. A fully blocked artery is harder to treat, so you definitely don't want that. Some doctors, at least in my experience, seem to let too much time pass before they really look at the problem. If you're not happy with your care, get out, ask around, and find a better cardiologist. Hope this helps.
A 50% blockage sounds bad, but in fact it isn't. Your arteries are larger than they need to be anyway. Imagine a highway with 100 lanes, but the volume of traffic only fills 30 of those. You have 70 lanes spare in your arteries.
As for meds, this depends on your results. If you have high blood pressure, this needs to be regulated. If you have high cholesterol, this needs to be lowered using a good healthy diet. You need to have regular exercise, even if it's walking for 30 mins. You need to keep emotional stress at bay as much as possible, and you need to cut sugar intake down to a minimum. Obviously no smoking. Do this and there's a very good chance the blockage won't worsen.
Are you also reducing emotional stress in your life? I would continue as you are with the 55% blockage, guidelines state not to stent anything under 70%. Some people seem to see Stents as some kind of cure, thinking if they have a Stent then everything will be back to normal for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately this is far from reality and is why they won't Stent unless absolutely necessary. There are things that can go wrong with Stents. Let's assume you go for a Stent tomorrow. Everything seems fine at first and you feel like normal again. However as the days go past, you gradually feel worse and worse. By the end of two to three weeks you feel really short of breath and have chest pains. You go back to the cardiologist and he does another Angiogram to discover that you have suffered a common complication. Your artery has grown scar tissue inside the Stent, and blocked it. Instead of a 55% blockage, you now have a 99%. These situations nearly always end up requiring bypass surgery. Believe me, the best solution is to get your disease under control and just leave the 55% blockage.
you can go from 50 to 70 or 80 in a very short time, regardless if you are taking statins.
I am a 61yr male.
I have been exercising all my life, jogging at 7 miles an hour. Underweight, blood pressure 115/75, never smoked. Cholesterol a bit high from family, 220, LDL 130, HDL 40. Lots of stress!
Out of coincidence a soft plaque was detected in my anterior descending artery (left coronary). 40-45% two months ago.
Decided that I would take no chances and go for the best, if a stent was needed had to be an Absorb from Abbott. These reabsorbable stents are available only in Europe and some other countries are catching up.
So I decided to travel to Barcelona for a catherization and eventually a stent implant. Best hospital, Teknon, best cardiologist, Dr. Antoni Serra. Indeed in TWO months my plaque was at 80%, regardless that I had been taking statins and reducing Cholesterol to 100 and LDL to 50! The position was what is known as "the widow maker". An Absorb was placed in a two hour long procedure since the position was a bit tricky and Dr. Serra used two guides and did a ballooning of the circumflex artery in parallel in order to locate the stent with precision on the anterior descending but with a 2mm. "overhang" on the main left coronary. He showed me it all while working on it and was so careful as to work a second ballooning after the stent was in place to secure full opening. I feel like new! I'll keep you posted and let you konw how I am doing since most of you from US and might know little regarding these type of stents. The advantage is that in a few months the stent is gone and restenosis risk is reduced. Furthermore, since the stent will be gone, your risk for trombosis exists only for a one yr period. In the particular position I had the plaque, a metal stent would have been causing problems due to the 2mm. of overhang.
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