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237039 tn?1264261657

Angina Not Heart Attack

I have had 3 heart attacks and have 2 stents in the right coronary as a result. I have other blockages, but have been told they are too small to correct.  My problem of late, is that I have gone to the ER several times in the last 15 months with the same type of chest pain and skipped beats as with the heart attacks, only to be sent home after a stress test. Diagnosed with angina and arrythmias. I am afraid that I will get used to this and shrug off what might be an actual heart attack and not just angina. Anyone else comment on this?

Thanks, Ally
5 Responses
214864 tn?1229718839
I think that all heart attack survivors, especially those of us who continue to develop blockages due to CAD, fear a second heart attack. In your case you have much more fear because you have survived three.

I was a boy scout and learned above all to "be prepared". So I have my fast acting nitro and the protocol that I follow before I dial 911. I am vulnerable in the fact that another heart attack may not give me as much warning as the first.

If I have intense angina, I take fast acting nitro at once. If the angina is not gone within 5 minutes I take another hit. After 5 more minutes if the angina is not much better, I take another shot and dial 911. This is something like the "official protocol" for people with angina who are using fast acting nitro.

So to try to answer your question, I never get used to an intense angina attack. I always am aware that another heart attack nay be about to take place. Plaque ruptures account for about 20% of all heart attacks, I have read. I even am weary of using tools that vibrate, such as chain saws, etc. But I still do. Not in a long time though. I have not been physically able to do much more than sit here and bang on these pads :)

Today I will start to exercise on the treadmill with my nitro in my pocket, lol. No fear here!
My best to you,

237039 tn?1264261657
Thanks, my friend. Yes, I too carry the nitro all the time with me. I have the NitroQuick and the long acting, Isordil, I think is what that is. Still not comforting, if you know what I mean. I thnk I am getting used to the difference. Hey, buddy, I go to the doc for my check up for the Amiodarone Friday. I have to have blood work and be monitored on this drug. But I do have an update. The tachycardia seems to be almost nothing now. Last night was the first time I felt a skipped beat since starting this medication.
But, back to the angina, it's not only the stable now, but I am having angina at other times, so wondering if this is what is known as unstable angina. Just gets to be a hassle. I literally have to stop what I am doing because of the pain. I am just afraid that I will get so used to this I will ignore true heart attack until the damage is done. But then again, I fear I will have an attack that takes me down without any warning.
I have resumed my exercises again. That 30 minute a day workout seems to give me energy, makes me feel good about myself, and who knows, maybe those small blockages will take care of themselves.

Thanks again, Jack.
You're my buddy in here.

242440 tn?1264523444
Appreciate this post - Jack's advice is quite helpful and smart.  I have not had a heart attack, but have had some blockages well over 90%.  I think I pushed it once too long to avoid military medical care until I could get to a civilian hospital and imagine it almost cost me.  I still have angina, but have had two false calls to the hospital over the past two years.  I usually try and suck up the severe angina and hope it goes away b/c I've been told my arteries are clear and that this is just unstable angina.  But this is probably not the right action to take as explained by Jack.  I carry my nitro w/ me every day too, and can't tell you the stress I feel if I even go to the grocery store w/o it.  But at the same time, I really hesitate to take it (even when I was having actual symptoms, not simple angina).  I have unstable angina every day - have been told that it is due to small vessel disease, but I imagine that is a SWAG.  I probably need to find a healthy balance between "sucking it up" and being smart and popping the nitro.  Wanted to throw out a newer drug I'm taking for unstable angina called Ranexa - seems to help.  The pressure hasn't completely gone away, but the severity and duration has significantly dropped - maybe it would help with your angina.  Will stop rambling now, but just wanted to say thanks for the post and response - I learned something today!  Take care!
237039 tn?1264261657
Thanks, guys. It helps to have all of you here to vent too.

214864 tn?1229718839
Thanks to the both of you for the kind words. One more thing that I think I have said here before, and that is my first cardiologist who has retired and is now working for the University of Florida, told me that any angina was bad for the heart. This is obvious if you think about what causes angina. The heart muscle is hurting due to decreased blood flow.

I have unstable angina also. I used to think that angina due to being very upset was unstable angina, since you can get worked up or mad while sitting, but this is considered stable angina.

Tarheelguy thanks for the reminder on the new (?) medicine Ranexa. I have read about it, but have forgot to ask the doc for a prescription.

The best to both of you,



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