Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
Another Possible Heart Problem Question
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Questions in this forum are answered by pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This forum is for questions and support about pediatric heart problems, symptoms and topics such as heart murmurs, palpitations, fainting, chest pain, congenital heart defects (including management and intervention), fetal cardiology, adult congenital cardiology, arrhythmias and pre-participation athletic screening.

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Another Possible Heart Problem Question

Hello, I would like to know something else if you don't mind, and by the way thanks for your answer to the last question, and I agree that I have got to do something to make a change. But now I would like to ask you what if the doctor that I go to found out that this was my heart. What might he have to do, would I have to take medications, or have to have some type of surgery.  My Grandpa had Open Heart Surgery in 2006, but he was about 70 years old.  Also my Aunt has had the surgery, and she was in her mid 70s, and she accually died from the surgery, and this was just last year, and almost immediately after she died was when I first started to feel the symptoms that I have been having to this day almost a year later. So do you think that I would have to go through a surgery like this, or have it treated with medications, because I have heard of people only getting medications for a heart problem, I would appreciate an answer once again and thank you so much for the last answer, It helped me a lot, and made me realize that I needed to make some changes in my lifestyle.
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Dear WXMAN,

Without knowing exactly what is happening with you, I can’t tell you what will have to be done for you.  If you do have Prinzmetal’s angina, this is a different situation than your grandfather and aunt likely had.  The surgeries that your grandfather and aunt most likely had was coronary artery bypass grafting, where a blood vessel from the chest is brought in and attached to the coronary arteries downstream of an obstruction to improve the blood flow to the heart.  These are usually done when there are multiple obstructed coronary vessels.  However, coronary artery vasospasm, where the artery squeezes down and then reopens, is not necessarily something that can be treated with a bypass graft.  It tends to be treated more with medications to prevent the artery from having spasms.  Also, it can be made worse by high cholesterol, so the dietary changes I discussed in my last posting should make a difference.  The good thing about this happening in your age, as opposed to your other relatives, is that it is much more easily reversible at your age.  In some cases, it takes more than just dietary changes and the medication for the blood vessel spasm; it also takes medicine to lower the cholesterol.

From an evaluation standpoint, you may undergo an electrocardiogram and echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound).  If the cardiologist feels that this is cardiac chest pain, he or she may also want to look more closely at the anatomy of your coronary arteries with either a cardiac catheterization or a CT angiogram (CAT scan).  There are other tests that can be done, but everything starts with the history and physical examination, with further testing dependent on those findings.
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