Another Chest Pain story

Posted by pikespeakguy @pikespeakguy, Jun 16, 2019

I’m new here and I know some stories I similar but wanted to tell mine and hopefully get some advice.
In October, 2018, I had chest pains, dizziness, etc.. I went to the ER where they performed a variety of heart related tests such as X-ray, troponin, ECG, and blood panel. all came back good. The left chest pain has NEVER gone away, even today. Some days are better than others. Today, I tried to do a couple things but ended up in bed as my chest pain was terrible. My pain is always in the left chest and sometimes is accompanied by chest pressure all over. But I usually don’t have breathing difficulty.
After the ER visit I went to my primary doctor who said I probably had panic/anxiety and she put me on Wellbutrin and said GERD is a possibility and gave me meds My next visit I told her I was concerned and still having left chest pain. She then added buspirone. My very next visit after that I expressed I was still having these chest pains and it is greatly affecting my life at this point. (I don't hike or exercise any more because the pain gets stronger the more I exert myself). She then added Lexapro to my meds. I never took the Lexapro and decided to find a new physician. My new doctor has been great and doesn't buy into the whole anxiety thing. She has ordered many tests, including ECG, chest xray, Calcium, echocardiogram, pulmonary test, treadmill stress test, thoracic tests. Everything came back good. The chest pain remains.
I have no doubt I have a degree of anxiety, but I am not sure this is the main cause. I tried to buy into it and went to two different counselors. Both said they saw no reason for me to go the counseling route.
At my last appointment, I asked my doctor if she could refer me to another cardiologist for a second opinion. She stated she would like to keep looking for other answers, and a cardiologist referral would not be accepted by my insurance at this time. I’m at a lose and my quality of life has gone down.
Any thoughts?
Thank you!

Liked by kakas

@pikespeakguy– Hoping if you are a father that you had a good day!
As for your story I can't imagine your 1st Dr. recommended that many perscriptions what seems to be a short amount of time?
It almost sounds like doctoring by the numbers. NEXT! Glad you moved on from that. The next Dr. (cardiologist?) who ordered up the appropiate tests and you say is great then goes on to say that she doesn't buy into all that anxiety stuff? Hello! I would definitely be looking elsewhere based on that alone.
You have every right to be an advocate for your own health and you may have to put up a little bit of a fight with your insurance carrier, but your own well being is worth it!
In 2014 I had a serious heart attack. As crazy as that seemed to me at that time I know my body and I know symthoms and this was the real deal!
Perhaps my first mistake was not having an ambulance come to the house, but rather had my dear wife drive me 20 minutes to a very good hospital.
After jumping through several hoops in the hospital business office, I finally in tears asked to see the ER Dr. because I'm having a HA!
I was rushed into the ER and they did several of the tests you mentioned and for some strange reason the Cardiologist seemed to think I was not having a HA and told my wife that they would be keeping me over night and do a stress test in the morning. I was still in an amazing amount of pain and yet it seemed like the Dr. was unwilling to do much more at the time. My wife left to grab my toiletry bag at home and while she was gone a Echo Cardiogram tech came in and began to do his thing and then moments later disappeared, briefly returning with the Cardiologist and things went very fast at that point!
I was incredibly fortunate and only needed one stent even though I had a 100% blockage in my LAD, often referred to as the "Widow Maker".
I only tell you this story because even though these tests were not showing that I was having a HA, I just knew I was and I always wondered days later that if that Dr. looked at my chart and knew I had been treated for panic attacks and anxiety years earlier and was still on 1 mg. of klonopin did he make the judgement that "this was all in my head"!
More than likely the answer for you is somewhere in between. Anxiety is a powerful thing and can make you feel both in mind and body something is wrong, but also as was in my case it took one more test that ended up saving my life. I will always be forever thankful for that!
Keep advocating for yourself because you know your body and nobody cares as much about you as yourself! Jim @thankful

Liked by kakas

REPLY

I am glad your new doc is taking you seriously. My chest "pain" is more mild pressure with shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fatigue, drops in o2 when walking (only sometimes) etc. Since 2017 I have been to ER probably a dozen or more times, each time heart is ok. Stress tests unchanged from previous studies, halter monitors one or two isolated hiccups (the kind of irregular beats they take note of) but nothing consistent enough for real problems. Right heart showed an issue with oxygen levels being too high on the side of the heart that should be lower in oxygen, but because additional tests did not reveal a heart defect doctors are saving there is "nothing wrong" with my heart. Lung function tests normal. Basically docs say my chest pressure not heart or lungs, so I have appt this month with GI doc. I have acid reflux controlled with meds and a history of esophageal strictures. We shall see if GI doc can help find problem. Since all of this started I've gained 75 pounds and my ability to function has dwindled. There is real data showing issues, but so far my problem has not been found. Don't give up – I know I am not – your answers will come.

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@kakas

I am glad your new doc is taking you seriously. My chest "pain" is more mild pressure with shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fatigue, drops in o2 when walking (only sometimes) etc. Since 2017 I have been to ER probably a dozen or more times, each time heart is ok. Stress tests unchanged from previous studies, halter monitors one or two isolated hiccups (the kind of irregular beats they take note of) but nothing consistent enough for real problems. Right heart showed an issue with oxygen levels being too high on the side of the heart that should be lower in oxygen, but because additional tests did not reveal a heart defect doctors are saving there is "nothing wrong" with my heart. Lung function tests normal. Basically docs say my chest pressure not heart or lungs, so I have appt this month with GI doc. I have acid reflux controlled with meds and a history of esophageal strictures. We shall see if GI doc can help find problem. Since all of this started I've gained 75 pounds and my ability to function has dwindled. There is real data showing issues, but so far my problem has not been found. Don't give up – I know I am not – your answers will come.

Jump to this post

Thanks for your response and sorry you are going through that also. My second doctor is pretty good. I just don’t now if I should be begging her for additional heart tests or accept it is not my heart? For example, I have not had the halter monitor or an angiogram. I have also gained weight, about 20 lbs.

REPLY
@thankful

@pikespeakguy– Hoping if you are a father that you had a good day!
As for your story I can't imagine your 1st Dr. recommended that many perscriptions what seems to be a short amount of time?
It almost sounds like doctoring by the numbers. NEXT! Glad you moved on from that. The next Dr. (cardiologist?) who ordered up the appropiate tests and you say is great then goes on to say that she doesn't buy into all that anxiety stuff? Hello! I would definitely be looking elsewhere based on that alone.
You have every right to be an advocate for your own health and you may have to put up a little bit of a fight with your insurance carrier, but your own well being is worth it!
In 2014 I had a serious heart attack. As crazy as that seemed to me at that time I know my body and I know symthoms and this was the real deal!
Perhaps my first mistake was not having an ambulance come to the house, but rather had my dear wife drive me 20 minutes to a very good hospital.
After jumping through several hoops in the hospital business office, I finally in tears asked to see the ER Dr. because I'm having a HA!
I was rushed into the ER and they did several of the tests you mentioned and for some strange reason the Cardiologist seemed to think I was not having a HA and told my wife that they would be keeping me over night and do a stress test in the morning. I was still in an amazing amount of pain and yet it seemed like the Dr. was unwilling to do much more at the time. My wife left to grab my toiletry bag at home and while she was gone a Echo Cardiogram tech came in and began to do his thing and then moments later disappeared, briefly returning with the Cardiologist and things went very fast at that point!
I was incredibly fortunate and only needed one stent even though I had a 100% blockage in my LAD, often referred to as the "Widow Maker".
I only tell you this story because even though these tests were not showing that I was having a HA, I just knew I was and I always wondered days later that if that Dr. looked at my chart and knew I had been treated for panic attacks and anxiety years earlier and was still on 1 mg. of klonopin did he make the judgement that "this was all in my head"!
More than likely the answer for you is somewhere in between. Anxiety is a powerful thing and can make you feel both in mind and body something is wrong, but also as was in my case it took one more test that ended up saving my life. I will always be forever thankful for that!
Keep advocating for yourself because you know your body and nobody cares as much about you as yourself! Jim @thankful

Jump to this post

Thanks for your response. Just to clarify, my second (and current) doc sent me to the cardiologist. Your story is probably my worst fear. So far the docs i have seen say I have to trust the tests, but yet I feel like crap. But at what point do you give up and say this isn’t my heart?

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@pikespeakguy– I'm ok with trusting tests, but often who does the test or what specific test is being done makes a world of difference.
My case in point. I was left with a EF (enjection fraction) of about 35 after my HA and I asked about what I could do to improve it. The cardiologist told me that continuing the exercise program I was doing and eating a bit better could help, but he said normally you will get improvement within the 1st year. I did all I could about that over the next year and was hoping on my 1 year anniversity that I would have some great improvements! Well, none came and I was told that sometimes that happens. I was definitely bumbed out and felt like damaged goods. A year later had another Echo and still no change.
Two years later I set up an appt. at the Scottsdale Mayo to get a second opinion on where things stood and after a battery of tests I ended with a Stress Echo that the Cardiologist and 2 techs were in there for. I was able to really push the limits and even though I was on a beta blocker I was able to break a heart rate of 150! After the stess echo I met with the Dr. and he told me this is preliminary until after he was able to analize everything, But he was confident in telling me that he thought my EF was more like 150- 155.
I was elated! I asked him how could that be after the results I had received 3 times earlier of no change? He simply said that either they were mistaken or things took longer for me.
I am a big fan of the stress echo because I believe it gives you a more reliable result.
BTW, you never give up! Never! Trust but verify! If going to the Mayo is at all an option for you I would highly recommend that! Jim@thankful

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Has anyone ever heard of having a step up in oxygen in the right side of the heart without a defect to explain it? I had a right heart cath to rule out pulmonary hypertension (3 echos said I had it in mild to moderate form and I am having shortness of breath as well as at home drops in oxygen during simple tasks like walking – o2 recovers quickly but has dropped as low as 61٪). Pulmonary hypertension was ruled out by the right heart cath. However there was a significant step up in oxygen in the right side of my heart indicating a possible shunt (hole in the heart). The right side of the heart is supposed to be oxygen poor as blood is headed back to the lungs to pick up another load of oxygen. In my case a hole in the heart or other defect was ruled out though bubble echo and heart MRI. Doc said cirrhosis of liver could cause this problem but because I don’t have cirrhosis that I don’t have a reason to be short of breath. (I do have non-alchoholic fatty liver.) Despite this info, I continue to have shortness of breath/fast, shallow breathing that lasts hours and I continue to have o2 drops and lightheadedness with activities of daily living (just walking into the kitchen for example.) I’ve videoed my pulse oximeter to prove this is happening, but so far it hasn’t been an issue in a doctor’s office. During the last in-office 6 minute walk test it took 2 minutes for my heartrate to raise above 70 then 92 was the lowest my saturation dropped. (Of course the hall I walked was short and cluttered with equipment, but at the very list my heartrate should have seen some kind of movement immediately, I am obese and not athletic.) I don’t think the nurse reported the heart rate issue to the pulmonologist and my cardiologists keeps telling me there is nothing wrong with my heart. Last week I was in the ER short of breath – nothing – but while there my BP dropped to 103/34. All this data indicates there is a problem, but docs are saying I am fine and nothing is wrong. I can’t influence right heart cath readings, and I don’t feel that I am doing anything to influence other readings. Has anyone ever heard of something similar to this?

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