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Some test results are in



When I had my heart attack a year ago, it was discovered my left carotid artery was 100% occluded but my right was clear and blood was traveling through it to my brain. Since the bypass surgery that I needed on my heart was so risky the doctor decided that it would be better to leave that be and just watch the right one...and only do surgery if that side started to become blocked. A dopler ultrasound was done with the strong suspicion that it would show the need for surgery but instead we were all shocked to find that both the right AND left carotid arteries were clear as a bell. The doctor had no explanation and we're all still scratching our heads but I'll take good news wherever I can get it.


The ultrasound of my heart wasn't as good. I have to have surgery to install a defibrilator. That isn't a big deal these days. Usually just a two day hospital stay and one week recovery time. Though the surgery isn't a big deal, the need for it seems to be. Along with the unstable heart beat, I've been diagnosed with cardiomypathy. It is believed the heart attack last year damaged part of the heart muscle. It was hoped that after the blockages were cleared from the bypass surgery and blood could again reach that part on my heart it would regenerate. That didn't happen and has grown weaker. My Ejection Fraction (how they measure the strength of your heart beats) is 20% were normal is between 50-75%. This is the most likely cause of the edema I have been experiencing. The defibrilator will not do anything to correct this but will regulate the rhythm of my heart beats and perhaps prevent another heart attack. 20% is on the low end of the scale so the cardiologist plans an aggressive treatment. Appointments to discuss his suggestions are coming up soon.


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It is like a pacemaker but will also shock my heart back into rhythm if it stops, preventing cardiac arrest. I take Plaxix but the problem is not plaque at this point, it is that the heart muscle is damaged/dead in places and does not pump strongly enough, nor correctly.

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jamie -- what a great job educating us... although at this juncture dan or i havent had these type of issues -- your education of your issues aid me in better understanding of heart issues.. thank you ( never know what info might be helpful or when ) nancyl.

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well, it is certainly wonderful news to hear about your arteries being clear. I really wouldn't be surprised to hear it will end up helping your edema, as when the heart works better, it carries away more. I'm so glad to hear this good news for you!

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Thanks for the update, Jamie. Good news on the carotid front. It must be a relief to know they are clear. The cardiomyopathy is unfortunate. Lauren's heart was also damaged by his heart attack and we have had the discussion with our cardiologist about a defibrillator. His ejection fraction was 35% last check. We'll not do it now but may need to reevaluate one day. In your case, it sounds like a good idea. I know aggressive treatment can help. We had a friend who had an EF of 15% and he has improved a lot with good treatment. I hope that will be true for you too. ~~Donna

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Good for you because I hear those operations to unblock is hard to do but needed in many cases. I know you were shocked when both of them came up clear as could be and not blocked at all. All the best to you!

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Jamie, Good to hear about the carotid arteries are clear and that you are getting treatment for your irregular heart beat. Is it like A-Fib. I did not know what cardiomyopathy was until now. And as Donna has stated with the aggressive treatment there is hope that your EF number will improve.


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jamie, good news that both carotids were clear. the defibrillator sounds good to me if it stops a heart attack. i'm sure you and your dr's will decide whats best for you. keep us updated on what you decide to do. i just hate hearing you might need another surgery. when my husband has his heart attack i got him quickly to the er, they gave him tpa for the clot and said alot of his heart muscle had died. he continued to have little ones but thought it was heartburn and never followed up with the cardiologist, then had the big one that killed him 3 years ago.because both carotids were severely blocked. he didn't like drs obviously! so our heart muscle is very important. do you have a history of heart issues in your family?

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I know very little about my family history except what I know and remember from my own lifetime. My family is very secretive about ancestry. To hear them tell it they were all in perfect health and died of nothing. However, my mother is dying of heart disease, both mother and father have had bypass surgery, and both brothers have had heart attacks and have several stents.

I have a consult next week to schedule the defibrillator surgery but I don't think I'll be adding any updates.

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