More Heart Tests

Well, the good news came back today… My heart is completely healthy…

As detailed in previous posts, there is some heart disease that runs in my family. Both my Grandfather and Father passed away from heart attacks. My Dad was only 47. As I am not too far away from that at 43, I am quite conscious of the risk factors.

Last December, I had a Heart Save CT Scan done to check the amount of plaque in my heart. The results came back very positive, with a very minimal score.

A couple of months back, I began to experience some chest pains. I hesitate to say chest pains because that over dramatizes what was going on. It was really a tightness or heaviness in the chest area. At no time was there any pain. This was accompanied by quite dramatic gas, burping, belching, etc…

Being one to be quite aware of what I am most likely facing at some point in my life, I dutifully went to the doctor with my symptoms. He didn’t believe it had anything to do with my heart, but never the less ran some blood tests and even did an ECG to check my heart. Everything came back positive. He had me get on a Prilosec OTC regimen to see if it was acid related. That medicine seemed to have no effect.

At my urging, he referred me to a Cardiologist just to see if he was missing something. At my first visit with him, his instinct and judgment, based on data, was that whatever the issue was, it most likely was not related to my heart. After some consultation with me, we decided to do a treadmill stress test, just to be sure. I had done one of those about ten years ago, again just to check out my condition and passed with flying colors.

I again passed this stress test but my “condition” had not really improved. We talked about how deterministic this particular stress test was and decided, given my family history, to go a bit more in depth. This meant a nuclear stress test. Oooohhh… what a fancy term, nuclear stress test.

Well, I had that test done last week. What it really means, is that they injected me with a small dose radioactive substance to measure my blood flow and heart pumping performance. After injection, they took a whole bunch of pictures of my heart and chest area at rest to get a baseline. Then, I again got back on the treadmill and got my heart rate way up high. They immediately took another series of images to see if there was any blood flow blockages or other issues. These tests were a pain in the ass, as they took almost 3 hours with most of the time sitting in a waiting room.

Anyways, I got my test results today. You always have to wonder when the doctor says “Let’s start with the good news…”. However, the good news was all that there was. The test were very conclusive that there was nothing wrong with my heart. I passed the test with flying colors again. According to the Cardiologist, there is no signs whatsoever of coronary heart disease. In fact, he was quite impressed with how I did on all the stress tests. Of course, these tests are not all inclusive and other issues could be hidden.

His best guess (not sure that’s the right term 😉 ) as to my problem is something acid reflux related. He was a bit surprised when I told him that I had take Prilosec OTC with minimal benefit. It’s back to the primary care physician to plot the next course on this issue.

The bottom line is that my proactive heart assessments keep coming back positive. This is great news given my family history. I will continue to be aggressive in monitoring my heart health as I age. My Cardiologist did mention that they have a brand new imaging system coming online in the next month or so that will revolutionize how they can look at potential future heart issues. We will get back together in 6 months or so and evaluate whether we want to do one of those tests.

With a bit of afterthought, I must be getting old. I now have a primary care physician, a Rheumatologist, a Cardiologist, and an Ophthalmologist. Dang, getting old sucks. I have an appointment with my Ophthalmologist at the end of May, where I expect to start wearing glasses. Where did the times go…. 😆