Thursday, April 19, 2012

Still Ticking

I know its been two years since my last post. Time flies when you are having fun. I've been taking my medication since 2004 and rarely experience angina. In the past year, my current cardiologist has tried to convince me to get the quintuple coronary artery bypass graft that I was originally told I needed back in 2004 when I took the advice of my second opinion cardiologist and began a medication protocol to control hypertension and assist my body in developing a better microcirculation and more efficient collateral vessels. It's been working.

Every time I see my cardiologist, my ECG and echocardiogram have shown my heart is normal. It would not be if the collateral vessels and microcirculation were not supplying the heart with adequate oxygen. In December I relented to my cardiologist's insistence that I have an angiogram which showed the blockages to my coronary arteries were essentially the same as they were in 2004. She still wanted me to have a five vessel CABG despite having a normal heart.

I told her that if a second opinion from a noninterventional cardiologist decided I needed a CABG, I would get one. Two months ago, I went to Indiana Heart Hospital for that second opinion. The cardiologist had all of my records and gave me a pretty thorough exam. He told me if I could do seven minutes of a cardiac stress test, he would agree with me that my medication regimen is providing adequate treatment of my coronary artery disease.

My current cardiologist gave me a stress test two years ago and I only lasted a little over five minutes at that time. Now my second opinion cardiologist wanted me to do two whole minutes more. Was I up for the challenge?

Tuesday was the big day. To make a long story short, I lasted seven minutes and 31 seconds and only experienced a slight amount of chest tightness at the end of the test that was gone within two minutes of the end of the test. The results were normal. My stress ECG showed no changes from my baseline ECG. The post stress left ventricle was normal in size. There was a normal pattern of perfusion in all myocardial regions. Resting images showed a normal perfusion pattern. Analysis of post exercise quantitative gated SPECT images showed a normal pattern of systolic thickening and normal wall motion in all regions. The post stress ejection fraction was measured at 63%, which is NORMAL.

Finally, my cardiologist's impression of the cardiac stress test: No scar. No ischemia. Normal LV systolic function. The post stress ejection fraction is 63%. NORMAL MYOCARDIAL PERFUSION STUDY.

I was told in 2004 that I would probably have a massive stroke or deadly heart attack within three months if I didn't have a quintuple coronary artery bypass graft. I opted to be treated with medication and now eight years later, I am still ticking.

Dr. Howard H. Wayne, a noninterventional cardiologist, said 95% of all CABGs are unnecessary. I hope that if you or a loved one have been told you need this very traumatic surgery, you will get a second opinion from a noninterventional cardiologist. It could save your life, or at the very least give you years of a higher quality of life than you would have if you had the surgery.

If you would like to discuss my blog or anything about the choices I have made regarding CABG surgery, email me at

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