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Heart Cath and stent recovery
Three weeks ago I went to the ER with feelings of heart racing out of my chest and chest tightness. The EKG and blood tests turned up normal and was going to discharge me until the doctor said the nurse mentioned that I said something about heart palpitations. So he kept me overnight for observation and a heart ct the next day. That CT turned up a blockage in the lower left main artery of my heart. So the following day I was scheduled for a heart cath where they placed a stent in my heart. I was kept overnight for observation and then discharged with Brilinta 90 mg, aspirin, atrovastatin, a beta blocker, and lispinoril for high blood pressure. After three weeks, I am now home but have feelings of crying every day and even bouts of anxiety. I talked to my Primary Care Physician this past week about this and she said it was normal and then prescribed Wellbutrin since she learned that I had not smoked for three weeks and was a half a pack to a pack a day smoker previously. She stated the nicotine withdrawals were probably responsible, along with the normal sadness, for my crying spells everyday. But I already have a fast heart rate (reason for the beta blockers) and anxiety/ nervous energy and worry that Wellburtrin will make it worse. Should I take this medicine or not? And how long will these crying spells last, especially given that I did not have open heart surgery, but did have a stent implanted. How long should I feel tired when walking a short distance (about five minutes)?
AHAASAKatie, November 13, 2018 9:14am EST
Good morning, please know that you are not alone! There are many people on the Support Network that have experienced similar situations as you and the anxiety is something many of us struggle with. I can share the information that we have on cardiac procedures if that helps with the patient education piece. I also encourage you to read through the conversation posts, comment and engage with others. We are here for you and want to support you through this time. Best Katie
JamesPL, November 13, 2018 9:38pm EST
Below is my response to your post under another topic in Heart Attack....
First off, I would talk to your PCP and tell her you're not getting suficient responses from your cardiologist. You need to be examined by a cardiologist and yes cardiac rehab is highly recommended. The physical therapists will guide you slowly, but surely and gradually increase your exercise tolerance. This will strengthen your heart especially if you continue with the exercises after it ends. So you should press your PCP again about how much you need to see a cardiologist and start the program.
Regarding your cholesterol, statins, which can be prescribed by your PCP, helped reduce mine by over 100 points. Prior to my bypass surgery, I was reluctant to take them. My numbers were in the 220-230 range. After I was diagnosed, they were prescribed and I have had no after effects. My last blood work showed my cholesterol to be 119 so they are very effective.
Finally, your emotions are not uncommon. This is a stressful period you are going through. You may want to consider speaking to a therapist. I did after my surgery and they gave me very good guidance.
Please let us know how you are doing with updates in a seperate post. I think a new post will get you more responses.
Wishing you very well.
yarn007, November 15, 2018 12:46am EST
Oh, the crying! I remember that all so well. My code word for it at the time was "bubbling over". Personally, my crying last for a year. Mind you it tampered down over that year as I was able to get over the trauma and the shock of what happened (heart attack w/stent all within 1.5 hours of going in the hospital). The added shock for me was that I had never ever had any kind of operation or stay over night in hospital short of birth. What I am trying to say is that it takes time to process what has happened to you. Then there is the being scared about what could happen next and the worry about what the future holds. All of that takes time. Crying and letting all of it out is so helpful. What I also found helpful was the cardio rehab and the therapist I worked with while in rehab. In my case I found adding an antidepressant and simply the passing of time (since the event) have been helpful. What also helps is that if there are any questions that are nagging you is to ask them to your doctors. It helps to put you mind to rest.
I can say 20 months post heart attack I am at my new normal. There has been no more crying. No more worrying just simply getting on with my life. I am mindful of taking my medications as prescribed and going to all my routine medical appointments.
You are stronger than you think and what has happened to you has shown you that. You can do this!
KFGriffin, November 15, 2018 10:39am EST
Thanks for the replies! They did a lot to make me feel a little better, except the fact that I need to be seen by a cardiologist. That now has me worried even more...should I call my PCP and leave a message, or should I wait until my next appointment with her on Dec. 2nd? Furthermore, if I establish a new cardiologist, will I have to wait too long to be seen? Finally can I just look for another one on my own? I thought about using the cardiologist that did my interventional procedure, but I was pretty high on the sedative and said some pretty interesting things during the procedure. I saw the doctors in this group before the procedure, but only saw my regular cardiologist ( I had one prior to this episode for hbp and tachycardia) the morning after the procedure. I am just not happy with this cardiologist and feel like I am a hindrane to his retiring...I guess the main question I have is how quickly should I pursue a new cardiologist? Try to be seen by one in the next week or two, or can it wait a month or so?
At least I feel better regarding the crying. And I have noticed they are slacking off some...I just panick a lot when I feel a weird feeling or a little tightness, or get tired so easily. I guess that is to be expected. I really want to beat this, and even reverse it (though I know my pcp says it is not possible). I want cardiac rehab. And I will find a new cardiologist if I have to in order to get into the program.
yarn007, November 15, 2018 6:21pm EST
Personally, If I wasn't happy with the doctor I would change. When I had my HA I had the presence of mind to ask the nurse a question. I said if this was you in this bed or your most beloved family member who would you want for your cardiologist? She gave me a name (just so happened to be the one who did the procedure since it was his Saturday to work). Then I asked her who treats their staff the best in that department? She named the same doctor. My last question was who would be the doctor you would least want? She gave me a different name. I thanked her over and over for her honesty. I told her I wanted the whole package a doctor who was excellent at what he does, but who also treats his staff with respect. That is the doctor I decided to stay with until he either retires or decides to move on (which I hope will be never).
Hope this is helpful to you. It is a different way to pick a doctor, but I have found nurses know the lay of the land.
The panic you feel will take longer to get over, but is really a big part of cardio rehab. In cardio rehab they help you learn to get comfortable in your body again. It is amazing in rehab how you realize just how far you can push your body. When you are having pains you can ask them questions and learn what you need to worry about and what you don't. I also like how they are in touch with the doctor and can let him/her know what is going on. Plus, rehab people will also stop you when working out if they see anything that is not right on your readings.
Do let us know how things are going.
KFGriffin, November 25, 2018 7:34pm EST
To follow up with the replies, I am seeing my primary care physician tomorrow and plan to ask her for a recommendation for another cardiologist. In fact, I have found one that I would like to see, and plan to ask her if she can make a referral or if I even need one to call the new cardiologist myself. My question, though, is since I have not been seen by a cardiologist since my stent placement on October 22, what can I expect from the first visit. Will the new cardiologist want to do a stress test? Or echo? I am just curious as to what kind of tests are done during follow up appointments following a stent placement.
DolphinWrite, January 17, 2019 4:11pm EST
You'really completely okay. This was a very hard thing to take. Keep reading the forums, ask your docs questions, and look forward to a brighter future. God bless.
rodneylynn77, January 22, 2019 11:37pm EST
I was in a very similar situation last week, I was in the ER twice with a weird pins and needles feeling in my chest. Both trips my EKG was golden and my Triponins was normal. Finally I had a appointment with my cardiologist and he thought it would be best to stay the night in observation and do a stress test in the morning. My stress test was fine, but the decided also to do a cardiac ct and that is where they found a few blockages. A few hours later I was in the cath lab and got 2 stents. One week later I had a pseudoaneurysm and a blood clot. One thing leads to another I just say #PutItOnMyTab I am really just taking it easy I feel some chest discomfort from time to time. I will be setting up cardiac rehab as soon as I ditch the blood clot. Is there anything else I should be looking out for?