British Heart Foundation
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Newley diagnosed... almost

Hi, I'm new! 47 male, non smoker, non drinker, reasonably healthy diet, not particularly over weight at 12st. Always been active even if not super fit all the time, I enjoyed walking, kayaking, motorcycling, cycling. (sounds like a dating profile!)

I'm looking for advice and thoughts on my situation please. I have over the years had episodes of palpitations that would come and go. These were always put down to stress and anxiety which they probably were mostly. Last year the frequency of the palpitations increased so I was referred to a specialist on the NHS. Unfortunately that took well over 3 months to happen! Then after my brief outpatients consultation I was referred to have an echocardiogram but I could tell the cardiologist wasn't concerned. Another 2.5 months passed and the echocardiogram was done and the result was fine, no obvious issues. However the symptoms hadn't improved and in fact I had a number of episodes of chest pain brought on by stress and exertion. It started to look to me like classic Angina pains.

I returned to my GP who listened and really wasn't overly interested, he said your ecg is normal, you HR and BP are a little high but nothing to worry about, your echocardiogram is normal and your blood results are normal. That didn't take away the fact I was getting episodes of chest pain! He reluctantly sent a letter to the cardiologist who had no plans to see me for 6 months apparently (I hadn't even been sent a letter with the echocardiogram result, I only found out by asking the GP) and I was told to wait. In the. Earn time I had started to document everything, keep track of episodes, record my BP and HR at regular points each day etc.. and I sent a document to the NHS cardiologist stressing my concern. Again they decided to refer me for a CT angiogram but it was going to be a while as the service is very busy. After 4 visits to A&E including an ambulance trip I had enough and asked the NHS consultant to refer me to a private hospital for the scan which cost me £850 plus 4.5 hours each way to get there, money and time I couldn't afford to use. Instead of 4 to 8 weeks wait I got a scan in 2 days! The report was returned to the NHS cardiologist who didn't look at it for 2 days and only got back to me after I chased repeatedly.

So the result of the scan was that although every test I've had had been normal it turns out I have a narrowing of the left major artery. Suddenly many of the symptoms I've had which the GP had been treating independently made sense...

I've had a cough for maybe 8 months and been coughing up small amounts of white phlegm a number of times a day.

I've had burning in my chest every day that the GP assumed was acid.

I've had a shortness of breath even when talking, GP suggested my asthma may be the Cause even though my inhaler didn't help.

I've had cramping in my calf muscles for now reason.

Chest pain under stress and exercise.

Anyway, this has all come at a bad time, I am supposed to be flying to Florida in 3 weeks time with the family and it's looking unlikely I will be able to go as I don't have a clear diagnosis yet. The cardiologist (well he's a registrar) wants to now do a full angiogram to accertain the level of the narrowing which again may take a week or two leaving me maybe a week before the holiday!

Of course my health is the most important thing but the holiday was a lot of money and I wasn't able to get insurance due to my ongoing undiagnosed health issues when it was booked, so if we can't go then all the money is lost. Now I think there is still the slightest possibility that if the narrowing isn't extensive I might be able to have medication and still fly, however if I need a stent then there won't be time realistically. I've suggested my partner goes with her mum and the nipper if I can't but she's concerned about leaving me alone as I have no family of friends where we live, the nearest is 3.5 hours away.

I'm generally mobile, can drive, walk short distances at a slow pace usually without any issues. My current obs have been slightly above normal with a BP that averages 128/92 and a resting HR about 75, spO2 around 97 to 99.

So my questions finally!

1. Has anyone flown with a narrowed artery assuming the doctor gave permission and if so were there any issues?

2. What symptoms did you have as a result of your narrowed artery? Could my coughing up phlegm, shortness of breath etc.. be a result of that?

3. If anyone is treating with medication only, is it still restricting your life?

4. If you had a stent did your life pretty much return to normal?

Apologies for the long winded post, I've just had another night at A&E after an episode and was once again sent home as my bloods, ecg etc.. were normal.. as I'd expect them to be.


2 Replies

Hi there,

Welcome to our new online community.

I am sorry to hear that your were back in A&E again, reading through your email I see you have had a turbulent time still getting diagnosed and awaiting treatment.

It looks like all this has come at a time where your were/are hoping to go on holiday. The final decision on whether your are fit to fly will rest on your consultant.

Meanwhile I have attached a link on tests for your heart:-

Also a link on Angina:-

Another source of help may be a local heart support group, you can look to see if there is one local to you on this link:-

Please also feel free to contact our Helpline on 03003303311

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