2013 started off stressfully for me. On January 2 nd I had to visit the hospital for an Echocardiogram and to be hooked up to a month long heart monitor.
The Echocardiogram seemed straight forward, the only thing that concerned me during the test was that it took a good 15-20mins longer than what they told me it would to perform. I was told on entering the room that it would take no ,Omer than 30 mins to complete.... I was on the table being ultrasounded for over 45 mins. I did not think much of it at the time.
Here is Wikipedias definition of Echocardiogram. Echocardiogram, often referred to cardiac echo or simply an echo is a sonogram of the heart. (It is not abbreviated as ECG, which in medicine usually refers to an electrocardiogram.) Echocardiography uses standard two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound to create images of the heart.
Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber size quantification), pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. An Echocardiogram can also give physicians other estimates of heart function such as a calculation of the cardiac output, ejection fraction, and diastolic function (how well the heart relaxes).
After the ultrasound I was shown to a room where they hooked me up to a remote monitoring system that would be with me for a month. Yay.... I was thinking oh boy, overkill.
This was all done on a Wednesday. By the following Tuesday the nurse from my primary care doctor was calling me to make sure that I had an appointment to review the test results. So much for getting a letter in the mail saying all the tests were negative! Stress and worry quickly wiggled and wormed their way into my daily existence. I did my best to ignore it but having leads stuck to your chest with a little monitor that intermittently decided to beep and indicate it was picking up an 'event' was not helpful.
The appointment for my follow up to review the test results were scheduled for a full 5 weeks later. Not due to availability but due to the doctor wanting to wait until after having the full results from the month long cardiac monitor.
At times I was just filled with incredulity... Is this really happening??? And other times I was just full on pissed off. The only thing that seemed to keep me calm was that my appointment was scheduled with my primary care doctor to review the tests and not a cardiologist and that hey did not call me up and tell me to go to the hospital now. So I rationalized that it could not be so bad and made myself calm.
Fast forward to now and.........
I saw my primary physician on Friday and she only had the results of the one test. The Echocardiogram. This was very frustrating for me, I waited an entire month so that results could all be gotten at the same time and it turns she did not have them. Aghhhh.
She, my doc, told me not to worry when I told her that the heart monitor was going off. She said if it was something bad they would have called her immediately, night or day. So possibly could have been premature heartbeats.... Whatever those are! So, no heart rate monitor results yet.
The echocardiogram did show an abnormality in my heart. I have what is called an Atrial Septal Aneurysm. Sounds WAY worse than it really is and it is not the cause of the other issues. It is just one of those things that they sometimes find. Nice. There is nothing that can be done for it and I now have to add a 325mg tablet of aspirin to my daily regimen. Apparently this abnormality has some sort of a link to higher incidence of stroke. Lucky for me I don't have any other risk factors for stroke.
I have a nuclear stress test scheduled for this Thursday, valentines day! Pretty appropriate way to spend valentines day, all day at the hospital having your heart looked at! And then the Friday after I have an appointment with a cardiologist to review everything.
Good news, it's nothing life threatening at this point in time and all of these tests will give us a great baseline and hopefully keep something bad from happening in the future! Bad news, I want to know what is going on in there.... Not normal to have pinches in your chest and get short of breath. Makes me nervous!
- Posted by Steph from my iPad