Some of you may have been following my palpitations experiences in the traiing and nutrition forum.
In summary, I have been having continuous palpitations, and have sent two separate Fax's to my supposed kAISER doc fully describing them - and they were continuous, with heart rate up to 155, and a very irregular heart rhythm. Then I talked with the doc on the phone, who said she saw "nothing remarkable" in what my heart was doing!!!
So, I received two posts on BFN a couple of days ago from folks in the medical field, strongly urging me to see someone about this problem. I got in yesterday pm with another doc at the Kaiser Clinc. In about 10 minutes he had ordered an ambulance, and in short order I was headed to the hospital.
It turns out I have been having continuous atrial fibrillation for 30+ days, which sort of means that the ventricles and atria aren't comminucating too well, and the atria is totally aflutter about this whole lack of communication. One way of looking at it is that I have been operating on 1/2 a heart (my words, not the docs). The two portions of the heart are out of sync.
What sort if amazed them is that I have been doing 20 and 25 mile bike rides, with no chest complaints, shortness of breath or any other symptoms except I just have not had quite the energy level I have had, and I noticed I was getting passed a little more than usual.
The danger here is that, since the atria is not pushing the blood out properly, the blood stagnates in certain portions of the atria and can clot. If my heart starts pumping real efficiently all of a sudden, and gets in sync, then blood clots can be pushed out into my brain (meaning stroke).
So, I am on blood thinners (warfarin and heparin initially), and a beta blocker to slow down my heart. Even with marked dosages of beta blocker, my heart is still beating at 120 bpm. I will go in for an EKG next week to see, but my heart already feels better in my chest. In about 3 weeks, I will likely get a "cardioversion (sp)" where they put me to sleep and shock the heart to get it back in rhythm. If this works (about 95% initial success rate and then 50% after a year) I can go off of the warfarin.
If not, I will be on the warfarin the rest of my life, or until there is another medical miracle cure.
The night in the CCU in the hospital was absolute heck! I didn't get out of the emergency room until 9:00 pm, then had to get something to eat and get hooked up to machines, and try to settle down. I asked for, and got, a sleeping pill and took it, but it didn't help. only made me groggy today.
People come and go in and out of your room constantly, and about 1:00 pm, another patient arrived, with obvious signs of heart distress - radiating pain, pressure, etc. They contiuously worked on him with nitroglycerin and other stuff, and finally transferred him to the coronary ICU unit in the morning. I slept about 1 hour from 4-5 am.
The good news is that the ticker, besides the electrical disturbances, is in great shape. No signs of coronary artery disease or anything like tha.
I need to lose weight, and I guess this is the final motivation to do that, but that was not the prime cause. In fact, they do not know the prime cause! May be hypertension or just getting older or genetic????
Anyway, I am switching Primary Care Doctors. By chance I had the copies of the faxes we had sent to my PCP about my condition, and you could see the looks of amazement on the other MD's that nothing had been done by my primary PCP!
My release says "physical activity as tolerated" so I can't wait to get a ride in soon.
Anyway, thanks to those folks who wrote telling me to get things checked out!
Darn you work so hard ot stay in shape, eat right, don't smoke, etc., amd you get caught by something like this.
The cardiologist stated:
"Think of this as only a minor annoyance, not as a major problem!"