08 November 2006

A minor problem of the heart

You may know that since I’ve returned from vacation I’ve been frequently visiting a variety of doctors. While I was in England I experienced chest pains, an irregular heartbeat, and other symptoms that required overnight hospitalization. Since then, I’ve undergone a number of diagnostic tests to determine why my heart has been misbehaving. What the hospitalization and testing have shown is that I have not had a heart attack. What cannot be ruled out is that I have some form of cardiovascular disease.

Tomorrow, I’ll be going to hospital to have what’s known as a cardiac catheterization and an angiogram. This will allow direct observation of the arteries and veins in my heart to see if there is restriction of blood flow in one or more areas of my heart. If there is a blockage, I may have angioplasty and the installation of a stent to ensure that blood continues to flow to all parts of my heart muscle. It’s possible, but highly unlikely, that I might need a more involved procedure at some point in the future. (As a footnote, let me say how much I appreciate the work of our colleagues at the National Library of Medicine for the information they provide on this and all health issues.)

All of this has caused me (and some of you) much concern. I’m very lucky in that I have a very supportive family, friends and colleagues who have encouraged me to immediately change some behaviors (cigarette smoking!), consider modifying some others (my diet) and reinforce some that I already have (regular aerobic exercise). My medical team includes a great family practice physician and a group of cardiologists in whom I have great confidence.

I'll refrain from liveblogging the procedure. I'm sure you'll appreciate it.

1 comment:

MMF said...

Crispy onion rings and blue cheese burgers await ...