Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stress Test and Cardiologist

I got a call last week from Dr. Hourtovenko's office. He is my cardiologist. They told me I was booked for a stress test yesterday. Most of you know this measures the reactions of the heart under load by putting the subject on a treadmill and increasing grade and speed until a target heart rate is reached. This is maintained for thirty seconds while the array of electrodes attached to the subject's body relay all manner of cardiac information to the machines.

I showed up at the doctor's new office downtown and was ushered into the room with the treadmill. The technician shaved a few spots on my chest and attached the electrodes. Then there was a baseline taken while I laid on the table and she got an opening blood pressure. My target heart rate for the day would be 134 beats per minute. This number varies with age and gets lower as you get older.

The treadmill started slow and but increased every three minutes. The 3rd level was a 14% grade at 4.2 MPH, at which point my heart rate reached 112 BPM and the angina pains started. This was exactly the same level and HR that I experienced angina with the last blockage. The test was stopped and I got off. Although there is quite a wait to get an appointment with Dr. H., the tech left for a few minutes and said he would see me tomorrow (today) at 10:00 AM.

This morning, the nurse practitioner took a whole lot of information and recorded my vital signs. Then Dr. H came in. His first words were "You're back". He said it looked like there was no need for further testing and that they would book me for the Cath Lab and an angiogram as soon as possible. I asked why a new blockage would appear so quickly. He replied that smoking and diabetes were the two major factors.

One point I did raise was the difficulty he had getting the line into my right femoral artery last time. I thought it was because I had forgotten to mention my right inguinal hernia repair back in 1996. The doctor said that, if that was an issue, they would be able to go in through the left side. I did not know that.

I went home to wait for a call.

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