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Anxiety about upcoming Angiogram

Heart & Blood Health | Last Active: Mar 22 6:23pm | Replies (27)

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@gregy You used the words "needle phobia". Whenever I hear "phobia" I think of anxiety that becomes so severe that a person wants to avoid whatever it is that makes them so very anxious. It affects the person's quality of life. I so wish that medical providers would understand that anxiety about a medical procedure is not something most of us can just grit our teeth and get through. Am I describing how you feel? I know what it's like to be so anxious about a medical procedure that I want to cancel it altogether.

I will share my thoughts about the physician who recommended the angiogram. It's simply not OK, in my opinion, to recommend and schedule a procedure without talking about it with the patient. You are worried about what the angiogram will uncover and so you are worried about a future that may or may not occur. It's not easy at all to just turn off that worry. I am claustrophobic and I've known this about myself for a long time. When an MRI was scheduled for me my nurse practitioner (NP) asked me if I'm claustrophobic. I said "yes" but I'd already had an MRI for something else in the past and knew I'd never go through with that procedure without medication. The MRI was scheduled because a recurrence of endometrial cancer had been found. So on top of the phobia I had about getting into the MRI I was afraid of what the MRI would show. My NP prescribed one dose of Ativan that was given to me about an hour before the procedure. That worked for me as I knew it would because I've taken Ativan before other medical procedures. I will tell you that I don't take benzodiazepines like Ativan on any regular basis and I manage anxiety that pops up in other circumstances through my coping skills like breathing and thought reframing.

This is me. I think it warrants a discussion with the cardiologist before the procedure to ask if they can prescribe a medication that will get you through the procedure. I'm not a medical professional however I've had many, many years of working through my own anxiety. Advocating for myself helps with anxiety and I hope it will do the same for you. You might also discuss this with your GP since you wrote that they don't know this about you either. In my experience opening up about anxiety instead of hiding it can be so very helpful.

When is the angiogram scheduled? Will you contact your GP to discuss your concerns about the angiogram?

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Replies to "@gregy You used the words "needle phobia". Whenever I hear "phobia" I think of anxiety that..."

The Angiogram hasn't been scheduled yet. My Cardiologist just said "I'll book you in for an Angiogram" like it was offering me a coffee, without any concerns about the shock of needing one and hoe I felt about this. I told him I will think about getting it doe. He is going to call me next Tuesday night to discuss and I guess I will agree to it - it is easy to run away from fear, but I think this one I have to face. I really sympathize with you with claustrophobia, I never realized I had this until on a holiday in Japan, I went on a cave tour near Mt Fuji, the entrance was like travelling down an icy waterslide, getting narrower and narrower (I was sliding while sitting, with the roof of the tunnel brushing on my head and side walls brushing my shoulders and it was quite dark and very cold. I actually thought I was going to get stuck and with lots of people behind me on an icy down hill slope, there was no way to go back. I had a really bad panic attack, heart racing, sweating and I thought I was going to die - fortunately it gradually got wider and I made it out. I will never forget that awful experience. I will try to make an appointment today with my GP (if he isn't booked out) and I will have a talk to him about this.

This is a great point Helen.