British Heart Foundation

frustrated and concerned

ive been thinking about writing this for a little while. For a couple of years now ive been getting funny feelings in my chest. ive had 2 exercise ECGs (the last one I had was 5 months ago), BP check of my wrists and ankles and echocardiogram however the tests showed nothing at all - both ECGs were fine and the echocardiogram I had was also fine. Ive never suffered from high BP (its always around 118/70) or high cholesterol (its always been around 4) if that's relevant. the funny feeling is very mild pain, sometimes it feels mildly sore to touch my chest, sometimes its the left hand side of my chest that gets pain. When im having pain I have had aspirin and its not made any difference to the pain. the pain comes on even when im sitting at rest as well.

Lately though ive been getting mild pain in the middle of my chest and sometimes it has radiated up to the left hand side of my neck/mouth and also feels like its spreading across to my shoulder kind of along the collar bone. Ive been back to the GP 6 or 7 times (this includes seeing a different GP for a second opinion) about this latest pain but they just keep saying they don't believe its related to my heart and that I had a test 5 months ago and all was absolutely fine then and that any heart or artery issues wouldn't come on that quickly. Why then do I keep getting pain in my chest, neck and around my mouth. When the pain comes on I also get some tingling in my left hand but again that's been there for 2 years or so.

Im concerned it is my heart. My family has a history of heart issues - quite a lot of them have passed away in their mid 50s because of heart issues and whilst im not in my mid 50s im not far away from it.

Sorry this feels like im rambling, just trying to get all the information out which I think is relevant.

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Have you mentioned your family history... And do you suffer from any form of anxiety ? ... ♥️

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hi yes I mentioned family history but they said it isn't really relevant. no I don't suffer from anxiety.

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I think if every test has came back fine that should reassure you that your heart is fine ... But maybe it is something else and you should tell your GP your concerns... ♥️

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after reading some other threads on here it seems quite common that heart problems or blocked arteries aren't picked up by exercise ECG tests so im not sure I am reassured by the tests I have had already - im not even sure blocked arteries are picked up by exercise ECGs?. I know the gold standard is angiogram but as said its not really a road I would want to go down.

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I think that an echo would pick up a blockage my 3 heart attacks where picked up by ECG and my artery was blocked ...♥️

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Hi Minime... if the doctors feel it is not your heart can they offer a suggestion as to what else it could be to help you focus on the cause to help clear this for you. From my experience with my heart condition it's bot a pain that comes on when I touch my chest.. .. this would indicate muscular rather than heart? Have you done anything strenuous lately picked up anything heavy? Which can leave you with pain and tenderness in the chest region.

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heartlady no they haven't offered any suggestions as to what it could be, they just say its not your heart. It all started in a bit of a funny way, one night sitting watching TV there was a massive pop in my chest, left arm went funny and hand was tingling and I felt really dizzy so called the NHS and they sent an ambulance out and the pain has continued since then, tingling in left hand has continued since then too.

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Hi MiniMe,

Did they do your exercise ECGs with echocardiogram straight after, this is called a stress test with Echo.

My partner is fairly young experiencing similar chest pain they wanted to do an angiogram and he said no due to the risks and they offered this as an alternative.

His cardiologist said if the chest pain was due to narrowing off the arterys etc an angiogram or stress test with echo are the best tests although they did say an angiogram was the best option.

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hi no the echo was 2 or 3 weeks after the ecg exercise test. Even though I don't really want them to do an angiogram I know its the only way to really get a definitive answer but they are point blank refusing to do one the reason being the ECG, the Echo and pressure test showed absolutely nothing and they said they couldn't justify doing an angiogram.

Its interesting your partner is experiencing similar pain to me at the moment and even though the tests show nothing is getting offered a different pathway to a possible answer. Do people suggest your partner is suffering from anxiety as well?

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Hi Mini me,

They did offer him an angiogram but he refused and asked for an alternative due to the risks involved with the procedure and they offered a stress test with Echo.

It will be very difficult arranging the angiogram through your GP, the best way to get this is to go through a cardiologist who can then order any tests they feel necessary. I know the wait is long my partner waited and is still waiting for tests after months and months of waiting, but once you are under the care of the cardiologist you will feel a lot better and reassured.

Given your strong family history of heart disease, I do think they will take this into consideration, however they wont give you any tests which carries a risk unless you are showing symptoms or you insist on it. Don't be afraid to challenge doctors, this is your health after all.

In your case you have undiagnosed chest pain, so I can understand why this is concerning. The never suggested anxiety to him but that's most likely because he has had pericarditis in the past, however I must say as his partner I noticed these pains are worse when he is stressed, lack of sleep and sometimes when he thinks the pain is there its worse when he panics and when he calms the pain does also. For that reason you may link the pain to anxiety but its really hard to know as nobody really can.

I would say trust on your instinct and get your referral, once you explain your family history the cardiologist will be able to decide on tests. What you want is a answer to the chest pain and who knows is may not even be heart related but at least once you know you can put your mind at ease.

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I agree with heartlady. Every test so far suggests your heart is fine, so it probably is, but if that doesn't reassure you then you need to find out the real cause. You can't expect the answer from the cardiologists but maybe your GP would be able to help you? Best of luck.

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I not sure my GP can help as he hasn't suggested anything else - even he's not suggested anxiety for the pain and they are usually the first to suggest that! The only way I can see he can help is by referring me to a cardiologist so I can speak to someone about the pains instead of only speaking to nurses who run the tests... ive never actually spoken to a cardiologist. I guess it doesn't help though that the NHS hospital where I live has an 18 month waiting list to see a cardiologist because they cant recruit people and are short of 2 consultants and have been for 2 years... The GP did say if he was to refer me to the rapid access chest pain clinic it would take 4 months to be seen as the backlog is so great.

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Hi there - sorry to hear about all your symptoms. Your family history is very relevant, as that shows us that genetically you might have a higher risk than the rest of the population of having heart disease even if all your other risk factors are in check.

If your GP can't get to the bottom of your symptoms then they should consider sending you to a cardiologist. While a coronary angiogram might not be the first option, they can do a less invasive test called a CT coronary angiogram, which you can read more about here: bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-ma...

I hope this helps,

Chris

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thanks for the reply Chris and for the information about CT coronary angiogram.

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When reading posts from 4 months ago it always leaves me with the thought " What has Happened Since " did you have success in seeing a Cardiologist have they confirmed nothing is wrong with your Heart ??

I don't know but when you have a Hospital test like an Echo cardiogram or Stress EGC are the results not looked at by a Cardiologist or a Registrar or Radiologist etc ?? and they decide whether or not to proceed with further tests.

Resources are limited but I believe that if you have a significant chance of having a Heart condition all relevant tests are carried out with an Angiogram being the final Test. I have just read that again and NO an Angiogram is not the final test but is the best marker currently. I say an angiogram is not necessary the Final Test for some conditions because I don't t think it shows the Perfusion of the Heart Muscle that's done by a Myocardial Perfusion Scan or a Stress MRI.

In my experience the medication route is the first option, because say your given a GTN spray if that relieves the symptoms then Angina could be the diagnosis which leads on to the WHY do you have Angina. Which I believe leads on to the Exercise Stress test which I have seen referred to as the Bruce Protocol ? I also believe that a score is given to the test to indicate the condition of the Heart, and it is a good indicator if further tests are required.

It would be interesting to see how you have progressed over the months.

Best Regards

Frank W

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