Cardiac catheterization

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    Sep 30, 2011 4:08 PM GMT
    This is not gay men's health per se, but just a general medical concern.

    I just learned that my father is having an emergency cardiac catheterization today. He is 70 and went to the ER with severe chest pain. He has suffered from very high blood pressure for years, and has for years refused to see a doctor--he's all about natural medicine, and in the last ten years he has developed some kind of (to me) bizarre aversion to traditional medicine.

    Anyway, I'm told it's a very safe procedure, but I'm wondering if anyone here has undergone it, and if you have any thoughts on it.
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    Sep 30, 2011 6:42 PM GMT
    19c79 saidAnyway, I'm told it's a very safe procedure, but I'm wondering if anyone here has undergone it, and if you have any thoughts on it.
    Is this to insert a stent? My father-in-law had it done.

    Thank you for the embedded warning about medical treatment vs quackery. I so seriously wish this fad would disappear.
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    Sep 30, 2011 6:53 PM GMT
    Witchcraft doesn't work.
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    Sep 30, 2011 8:59 PM GMT
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiac_catheterization

    It's fairly safe in general, except in patients with severe vascular disease (e.g. very calcified blood vessels), kidney disease (the contrast used may cause kidney failure) which may run with high blood pressure, or bleeding disorders. It's usually required to have cardiothoracic surgery backup (in case a blood vessel dissects or if there are bleeding complications) for interventional caths (rather than just diagnostic caths).

    I hope you father is willing to take the meds that come along with getting a stent (usually aspirin, and sometimes Plavix), because if he won't, the stents can close off early on (especially if they are coated stents), and he would end up losing even more heart tissue.

    He's probably going to be on a combination of the following drugs:
    --beta blocker
    --statin
    --ACE inhibitor (if his kidney function tolerates it)
    --aspirin and maybe Plavix
    --nitrates (to control angina)
    --other blood pressure medications if the above aren't enough

    If there are too many vessels that are diseased, or certain vessels are involved (e.g. left main), sometimes the cardiologists will recommend bypass surgery instead of stents.
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    Sep 30, 2011 9:46 PM GMT
    Yup! Three times in one year!.. Going in thru the groin (femoral) is a bit more risky because of the femoral artery being punctured. Radial was alot better for me and much faster recovery.. (radial is going thru the wrist). either way, he should be up and going about his daily business within 24 hours..
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    Sep 30, 2011 11:12 PM GMT
    TropicalMark saidYup! Three times in one year!.. Going in thru the groin (femoral) is a bit more risky because of the femoral artery being punctured. Radial was alot better for me and much faster recovery.. (radial is going thru the wrist). either way, he should be up and going about his daily business within 24 hours..


    3 Times? Holy cow, dude.

    Only one: 10 years ago. I was 35.

    Femoral has the mandatory two day stay to make sure the stent site heals properly.

    It was fascinating to be awake and watch the whole thing. And, my most vivid memory was trying to remove ten EKG stick-on pads from my hairy chest after I was released. That was some adhesive...

    I suspected that three years of working for a major Pizza chain in college did a number on me. They didn't find anything. A gastrologist found the duodenal ulcer and I started a love-hate relationship with Prilosec/Omeprazole.

    That taught me that I can't go to a doctor and say "fix me".
    I have to actively participate.

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    Sep 30, 2011 11:25 PM GMT
    Unfortunately, I've done it three times (at 40 and 44) for stents. I've been cathed twice since then (15 years) to check the arteries. This is not a difficult procedure to bear if the body is otherwise strong. I knew everyone in the OR when the first one was done. They let me choose the music and we cracked some jokes. There was only mild discomfort. The most difficult part of the experience was removing the tape holding the plumbing in place. There is a spray and/or surgical tape that will not damage the skin when it is removed.
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    Sep 30, 2011 11:51 PM GMT
    Both of my parents have had it done for very different reasons....


    Both turned out just side.... Its a safe procedure and relatively low risk as I understand it....


    Good Luck & speedy recovery for your dad!
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    Sep 30, 2011 11:56 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    19c79 saidAnyway, I'm told it's a very safe procedure, but I'm wondering if anyone here has undergone it, and if you have any thoughts on it.
    Is this to insert a stent? My father-in-law had it done.

    Thank you for the embedded warning about medical treatment vs quackery. I so seriously wish this fad would disappear.


    so your claim is natural medicine is "quackery" versus "medical treatment". please do differentiate.



    q1w2e3 gives very general ideas of what could be prescribed post procedure...let the physician get ALL of the diagnostics sorted and followup assessments done.

    medications are expensive, I can appreciate what your father was doing from a naturopathic point of view,
    unfortunately this situation is serious and medical intervention is required to keep him alive.

    There is no such thing as no risk invasive surgery. I have had patients with complications such as the stent not properly secured, or clotted. But as a few have indicated most are on their way in a day or two.
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    Oct 01, 2011 12:08 AM GMT
    RobertF64 said
    TropicalMark saidYup! Three times in one year!.. Going in thru the groin (femoral) is a bit more risky because of the femoral artery being punctured. Radial was alot better for me and much faster recovery.. (radial is going thru the wrist). either way, he should be up and going about his daily business within 24 hours..


    3 Times? Holy cow, dude.

    Only one: 10 years ago. I was 35.

    Femoral has the mandatory two day stay to make sure the stent site heals properly.

    It was fascinating to be awake and watch the whole thing. And, my most vivid memory was trying to remove ten EKG stick-on pads from my hairy chest after I was released. That was some adhesive...

    I suspected that three years of working for a major Pizza chain in college did a number on me. They didn't find anything. A gastrologist found the duodenal ulcer and I started a love-hate relationship with Prilosec/Omeprazole.

    That taught me that I can't go to a doctor and say "fix me".
    I have to actively participate.

    They have no idea whats causing what.. I've always had HDL numbers below 100. Triglycerides have always been below normal limits.. But one widowmaker (two separate stent procedures because they originally put in un-medicated stents and the arterial wall wanted to grow into it) and 11 months later another smaller MI.. yeah 3 in a year.. hopefully thats it. At least some good news with the last CC was that a posterior blockage they saw the first time around that they were watching is almost non-existant now.

    Yeah, the Cath lab can be a fun place.. mine here at the VA loves to play rock music and the staff got huge laughs when they injected the dye (which gives you a strange feeling of pissing hot all over yourself) and I responded with "dude that's wicked!". They had never heard that response before.. LOL
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    Oct 01, 2011 12:13 AM GMT
    They are normally nothing to worry about. I had one done about 7 years ago. When I had a treadmill stress test, the cardiologist said it looked like I had an 80% chance that at least 1 or more arteries were at least 50% blocked. After the procedure, he said it all looked great and wished more of his patients my age had arteries as clean and healthy as mine.

    It's not always for inserting a stent. Sometimes it's used to verify other abnormalities that may appear on other tests.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much.
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    Oct 01, 2011 12:50 AM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    I've always had HDL numbers below 100. Triglycerides have always been below normal limits.


    You mean LDL.
    Higher HDL is better.
  • BlackBeltGuy

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    Oct 01, 2011 12:58 AM GMT
    PaulNKS saidThey are normally nothing to worry about. I had one done about 7 years ago. When I had a treadmill stress test, the cardiologist said it looked like I had an 80% chance that at least 1 or more arteries were at least 50% blocked. After the procedure, he said it all looked great and wished more of his patients my age had arteries as clean and healthy as mine.

    It's not always for inserting a stent. Sometimes it's used to verify other abnormalities that may appear on other tests.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much.


    yup, its true. I do those nuclear stress tests and the stress test can be positive but you can have a negative cath. that is more definitive.
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    Oct 01, 2011 12:59 AM GMT
    I view cardiac catheterization as a decision point. Yes, you can go ahead and get the stent, and think that everything is fine with you. Some people keep smoking and eating the same things and don't attempt to treat the underlying problems. A significant minority reevaluate their lives and decide to live healthier by stopping smoking, exercising and losing weight.

    A recent article states that patients expect far more from cardiac caths than physicians (who know what the expected outcomes are). What that says to me is that a major opportunity for education has been lost in many cases.
  • islander24

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    Oct 01, 2011 1:15 AM GMT
    I had it two years ago. Felt fine till I drove myself to the ER. A few days later I had four stents implanted. Seems two arteries were blocked 90% and the other two 85%. Probably bad genes, but frankly the burgers didn't help. Like Mike said it is pretty standard and basically safe. The day I went for surgery my doctor had already done 3 and was scheduled to do 3 more after me. I realize Miami is a major city, but we have 8 to 10 hospitals specializing in heart surgery so that is a lot of catheterization in a day.
    Bob
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    Oct 01, 2011 1:26 AM GMT
    q1w2e3 said
    TropicalMark said
    I've always had HDL numbers below 100. Triglycerides have always been below normal limits.


    You mean LDL.
    Higher HDL is better.
    Yeah I can never remember which one is which.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Oct 01, 2011 1:41 AM GMT
    I'm a Medical Imaging Technologist. I don't do the cardiac catheritizations, but they are done by my colleagues. My father was much older and wasn't even aware that he had it done, and he was as with it as you and I are.
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    Oct 01, 2011 1:43 AM GMT
    I had a cardiac cath in November of last year.

    I can't say a lot about the procedure itself because I have an off the chart needle phobia so my cardiologist arranged for me to be put to sleep for the procedure. I can say this: the recovery was a breeze. I was on my feet the next day and back to normal activity within a couple of days.

    I can also say that the diagnostic clarity from the test is worth the minor risks and any discomfort. In my case, my doctors were able to rule out blockages as the cause of my chest pain. (The cause was finally attributed to vascular spasms that are controlled with medicine.) In your dad's case, if they find minor blockages, they should be able to stent them. Or, if the blockages are more serious, they can set up a bypass.

    I would say the most important thing to sort is to make sure the people and the hospital doing the procedure have plenty of experience - i.e. a regular case load of catheterizations.

    Best of luck.
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    Oct 01, 2011 1:53 PM GMT
    Thank you for all the replies and the useful information. The catheterization was done yesterday, and the doctor said there was no need to insert a stent. his arteries are fine. He just needs to take medication to keep his blood pressure in check. It really is off the chart, but like I said, my dad has refused to take the meds for years. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call. He lives a healthy lifestyle (he and my mom are retired, and living in a ranch now. They walk a couple of miles every day, ride horses, and maintain a very healthy diet). And I'm sure the natural medicine supplements he takes are good. I just worry that with blood pressure as high as his (I forget the numbers now), those supplements are not enough.
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    Oct 01, 2011 1:58 PM GMT
    19c79 saidThank you for all the replies and the useful information. The catheterization was done yesterday, and the doctor said there was no need to insert a stent. his arteries are fine. He just needs to take medication to keep his blood pressure in check. It really is off the chart, but like I said, my dad has refused to take the meds for years. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call. He lives a healthy lifestyle (he and my mom are retired, and living in a ranch now. They walk a couple of miles every day, ride horses, and maintain a very healthy diet). And I'm sure the natural medicine supplements he takes are good. I just worry that with blood pressure as high as his (I forget the numbers now), those supplements are not enough.
    Great news!
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    Oct 01, 2011 2:25 PM GMT
    19c79 saidThank you for all the replies and the useful information. The catheterization was done yesterday, and the doctor said there was no need to insert a stent. his arteries are fine. He just needs to take medication to keep his blood pressure in check. It really is off the chart, but like I said, my dad has refused to take the meds for years. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call. He lives a healthy lifestyle (he and my mom are retired, and living in a ranch now. They walk a couple of miles every day, ride horses, and maintain a very healthy diet). And I'm sure the natural medicine supplements he takes are good. I just worry that with blood pressure as high as his (I forget the numbers now), those supplements are not enough.


    So I'm a little late in replying to this but, I was able to observe like 5 cardiac catheterizations (and a few stent placements) during my clinical rotation for nursing. I agree with the above about the radial being safer (and more convenient for the nurses on the floor). I'm not claiming any specific knowledge about what I saw...half the time the coronary ateries just looked like tree roots to me (if they were lucky not all gnarled with arterogenesis and 'blockage').

    My father expressed concern about the procedure when he had it done a few years back with stent placement, 2 I think...where they could; and worried the shit outta me about it. There were other vessels that were too small to stent though, and he'll probably require a CABG at some point (especially considering his new wife's cooking and the fact that he had a heart attack at 37 which is another motivating factor in my improving my health). If I had the knowledge then that I do now I would not have been nearly as concerned. There are literally 4-6 people in the room assisting with this procedure and that to ensure that the patient remains stable. They are concious but the sedative almost ensures that they won't remember any discomfort. <3 Versed ((^_^))

    I'm glad to hear that all went well and wish your father luck!
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    Oct 01, 2011 10:52 PM GMT
    At the beginning of the procedure, you lie down on their table at the machine and disrobe you. They give you a drug to relax you (drawing a blank on the name.)

    The guy looked down at me in all my glory and said... "My god, you're hairy. What are you? Italian?" (no. But, if I had three wishes...)

    I may have my terminology confused. I was thinking the entry site in the groin area gets a device to help the femoral close up correctly, not the spring-shaped device that gets inserted into the artery to resolve any constrictions.

    I didn't have a need for any arterial inserts.

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    Oct 03, 2011 1:15 AM GMT
    RobertF64 saidAt the beginning of the procedure, you lie down on their table at the machine and disrobe you. They give you a drug to relax you (drawing a blank on the name.)

    The guy looked down at me in all my glory and said... "My god, you're hairy. What are you? Italian?" (no. But, if I had three wishes...)

    I may have my terminology confused. I was thinking the entry site in the groin area gets a device to help the femoral close up correctly, not the spring-shaped device that gets inserted into the artery to resolve any constrictions.

    I didn't have a need for any arterial inserts.

    Did they give you the 'dye'?
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    Oct 03, 2011 1:58 AM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    RobertF64 saidAt the beginning of the procedure, you lie down on their table at the machine and disrobe you. They give you a drug to relax you (drawing a blank on the name.)

    The guy looked down at me in all my glory and said... "My god, you're hairy. What are you? Italian?" (no. But, if I had three wishes...)

    I may have my terminology confused. I was thinking the entry site in the groin area gets a device to help the femoral close up correctly, not the spring-shaped device that gets inserted into the artery to resolve any constrictions.

    I didn't have a need for any arterial inserts.

    Did they give you the 'dye'?


    Yeah, got plenty of that. I have no family history of heart issues. But, I do have a vascular anomaly that discourages me from taking risks or they'll wanna go in and fix it.

    I'm hoping CT scanners can reduce the number of angio procedures.

    http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/Johns_Hopkins_Housing_And_Testing_Only_256Slice_Ct_Scanner_in_North_America

    This is too cool not to share.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWnjqeB7Mk8&feature=related

    In case you were wondering....