British Heart Foundation
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Coronary Artery Disease

Hello,

I'm new to the community. This week I have been diagnosed with CAD, suspected 70-90% stenosis of my Left Anterior Descending artery and 50-60% of the Right Coronary Artery. Pending a hospital appointment I have to go to my GP on Monday to be prescribed statins and Aspirin (the latter worries me as I am also asthmatic) to start treatment.

I'm 48, married with two children under 4 and this has hit me like a train. Does anyone else have a similar condition, if so any advice you can give me on what to expect and what this means in practice for me would be very gratefully received. Cheers!

23 Replies
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Hello Ceorl,

welcome to the forum, sorry to hear of your diagnosis

some threads below may be of assistance, healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

I have asthma as well, your statins and aspirin shouldn't have too much effect but discuss it further with your GP. Make sure you get regular appointments with the GP too, you can discuss how you feel, what side effects you have and review your condition and meds

hope that helps

Mark

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Many thanks for the reply Mark and the advice regarding Aspirin, I definitely plan to discuss this with my GP.

One of my main questions is what these percentages mean? I have no context so don't know how serious they indicate things are and if they mean I will definitely need a procedure like angioplasty or a bypass? I've read terrible things about the LAD and it's nickname of the 'Widow Maker', so I'm extremely worried about the apparent extent of the blockage in this artery.

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Fully understand your fear and apprehension.

My own, I had a heart attack, October 2016, so i had an angiogram, blocked, no chance of stenting. 90% blocked both sides, had a little arm ache and a bit of shortness of breath but go figure, never really noticed it. So this was followed just 8 days later by a quadruple bypass

I'm alive, most certainly kicking, things have changed, diet wise, exercise wise and work wise. Side effects, oh dear yes, from meds as well as by product of the operation. My sense of smell is far better than it was, taste as well. My filter, gone totally, I do try and keep that little voice in my head quiet but he wont listen.

For you, well 10 years younger, I don't know what level of fitness, but the surgeons know their stuff. the rest is down to you and your family and your friends. Talk to your GP, ask questions, write your questions down, talk to your cardiologist, again write your questions down. Ask on here, we have a great little forum, growing daily.

Mark

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Thanks again Mark, at such an early stage this all seems unreal, but I’m already very impressed with the determination and guts people are showing on here and your story typifies that.

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Welcome Ceorl

I fully understand how you are feeling, my diagnosis was like a bolt out of the blue and to be honest I still can't believe it at times and I only had my Angio on Monday which concluded I needed a bypass. I consider myself to be a fit 59 year old who loves excersise and the outdoors.

You will get through these initial worrying days, honestly. The meds are keeping you safe and protecting you until a plan can be put in place. You have joined a great forum where you can read, learn and put your mind at rest.

Don't for get to ask questions of the medics if you don't undertand and try to do as your told..

The way I look at things, It's happened and we are being given a chance to change the future, its not all doom and gloom once you get your head around things.

I have cut this from my earlier post today.

"Had a lovely chat with a guy at the gym today who had a Double CABG and oh my what an inspiration. I am not sure of his age but we have chatted many times in the past in passing but not much since his op.

He is older than me and has had his health problems and nowhere near the fitness level of myself and I dont mean to sound conceited, I am just trying to build up a picture.

He is a different guy health wise, he looks so good and I felt so happy for him. He took the the time to talk through his recovery and seeing him now looking fresh and full of energy was brilliant. He gave me a few tips and pointers which boosted my confidence"

You take of yourself Ceorl and stay in touch.

Cube

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Thanks for the kind words and reassurance Cube, I have the first appointment with my GP Monday so I should start taking the meds from then. Unfortunately I have no date for my angiogram yet but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

I’m at the start of a long journey so I’ll keep reading the forum and keep in touch.

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Well we can travel that journey together and if anyone else wants to hop on our bus they are more than welcome!

All aboard😎

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Hi Ceorl

I had a angiogram and stent fitted in my LAD in September. Three months on I feel great (apart from a few side affects from the medication).

I’ve changed my diet.and lost weight - do some research on studies by Dr Esselstyn and Dr Dean Ornish.... worth a look.

Best of luck mate

Daren

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Hi Ceorl

I got rushed in with unstable angina in October, had first angiogram where they found I had a chronic total occlusion in my lad, they couldn’t sort it there and then so had a second angiogram a week later when they fitted three stents.

I feel much better now than I have for a long long time, I had been putting feeling rubbish down to getting old (54) but now know what the real reason was.

It is a real roller coaster ride emotionally but you will get there with the help of all the very clever and caring people that will be looking after you, especially at the cardiac rehab classes which are fantastic.

Cheers Martin

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This is a great group to be part of and I am sure you will get lots of helpful comments. It may not seem like it but you and many others of us on here are the lucky ones as we have been diagnosed when there are things that can be done. I lost a very close friend in September who passed away at 66 in her sleep. She was apparently for and well but her arteries were completely blocked. I had symptoms and consider myself fortunate for that. I now take statios and clopidogrel for the ishchaemic hear disease but required a pacemaker in November. It was a shock and I am still getting used to it but still live and kicking and hopeful for the future thanks to all the very positive information and comfort from people who are actually experiencing the same things as us. The very best of luck with your future treatment.

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I have a different heart condition and I have blocked arteries. It shocked me wen I found out I’d wreaked my heart too. I grew up knowing I had a heart condition yet I still made mistakes. I’ve since made sure I eat healthy and take satins.

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I had the same shock come to me last August. At 45 i was diagnosed with 90% blocked right artery and blockages to my Lad and another artery (cant remember the name of that one) I had a triple heart bypass in Nov 6th 2017 and am almost fully recovered. There is a chance that when you have the angiogram it might be not be as bad as was origanlly diagnosed.

All these worries go around your head like how am i going to provide for my family?, how serious is it?etc...all perfectly normal thoughts and feelings. Echoing other peoples words, you are in a much safer position than you was before diagnosis. A lot of people are blissfully unaware they have anything wrong with them until its too late. Although very strange to say we are the lucky ones and must have someone up there who likes us.

Im on statins and aspirin and whilst im not an asthmatic, I have not experienced any side effects and hopefully you won't either.

Its a scary time not doubt but you will get through it. Ive come to realise during this period that the human body is amazingly adaptable and strong.

You are in safe hands now. If you have any questions ask me anytime. I fully understand what you are going through.

This is a great forum with a lot of good kind people on it. (Rare for the wild west social media age we live in)

All the best

Nick

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Hi I’m sorry to hear about your condition, I’m interested in how you where diagnosed, I’ve had a quadruple bypass and 13 stents , I was miss diagnosed with a hernia, I’m thinking of starting an awareness group for woman as it seems there are a lot of women who are unaware that symptoms are not the classic heart pain in the middle of your chest. I would be greatful for any information.

Regards Mejue x

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Hello Mejue,

In October I started experiencing what I felt were the classic signs of an impending heart-attack or event- chest pain, dizziness, racing heart, nausea and a dull ache in my left arm.

I saw my GP who referred me for an ECG, blood tests and gave me a GTN spray (glyceryl trinitrate) for my symptoms.

The ECG was fine but the cardiology nurse referred me onward for a CT scan, which picked up the stenosis.

I hope that's helpful!

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I think that’s a great idea Mejue . Women often present with non clasic signs and symptoms of heart disease which can lead to misdiagnosis, which in turn might lead to fatalities.

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Wow, I have just logged on after a few days and read all your responses, many many thanks for all the encouragement, advice and best wishes.

I attended my GP yesterday and have started taking the meds. He was similarly reassuring and after a few black days, I am feeling more positive and thankful that I was able to get a diagnosis before anything serious happened.

The only niggle is that I still don't have an appointment for my angiogram but I'm hoping that will be sorted soon, I just need to hear it in black and white from the horses's mouth and then I can get on with whatever hand I've been dealt.

I've started to eat much more healthily and will be increasing the amount of exercise I get, so the fight-back is on.

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Hi Ceorl

Great to read that you are feeling more positive and things are heading in the right direction. The Angiogram will happen and you will know what needs to be done to help you progress.

Keep smiling ;-)

Cube

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Ceorl pleased to hear your feeling positive I’m sure you will be shorted out ASAP, thanks for your response, it sounds like you had textbook symptoms that’s good as your Doctor has picked it up immediately, I was visiting my doc for 12 months with back pain and tiered all the time, only when I had pain and went to A&E was it picked up, I was admitted for quadruple bypass. Thanks again for your response best wishes xx

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Hello again,

Four or five weeks on from my diagnosis I've not heard anything regarding a date for my angiogram, so I rang the hospital today and was told that all such procedures have been cancelled due to the current NHS crisis, until further notice.

They referred me to the waiting list co-ordinator of the cardio unit at Watford General who was a bit more forthcoming and said they would hope that I will be 'in' on around 3 months after diagnosis (so around April I suppose), or earlier if they have success clearing the backlog.

I've been pretty much symptom-free and feeling good since starting on the statins and aspirin and changing my diet etc, but this is starting to prey on my mind and in fact last night and so far today the symptoms have reappeared a bit, which I'm putting down to the elevated stress.

Is anyone else experiencing anything similar at present? I'm feeling less optimistic about it all than I have for several weeks.

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Don’t take any chances, contact your doctor for advice or if recurrent symptoms of chest discomfort or pain occur phone NHS24 for advice and they will send an ambulance for you if necessary. Every minute counts, don’t simply dismiss symptoms as stress related.

Can you give us more information on the signs and symptoms your are feeling/ experiencing?

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Hi Ceorl

Try not to worry. I know the delays at the hospital can cause stress, I've been through the same thing myself. After my stents were fitted I asked to see a consultant at Huddersfield RI. The waiting list was 11 weeks but after 10 weeks my appointment was cancelled with no explanation. After waiting another 4 weeks and hearing nothing I rang their appointments and was given another appointment in 8 weeks so 22 weeks in total. This caused me so much stress that I ended up taking anti stress medication and I cancelled my appointment altogether and just decided to get on with life and not get the information I was wanting. So you are not alone in this. It's just how the NHS is. But having said that when you do get your procedure done you will find that they are brilliant.

My blockage like yours was in my LAD and 94%. I had three stents fitted and now over a year later I feel fine but still get the occasional ache and pain in the chest area which is probably nothing to do with my heart or the stents but you always wonder. I am getting much better at not thinking every twinge is heart related as time goes on but I am just mentioning this so you don't worry about the odd pain. I think in the early days and weeks some pain is due to your procedure and is perfectly normal but do check any worries with your GP of course.

Also what I would say is don't read the American health sites. Like you, I did and saw all that stuff about "Widow Maker" referring to blockages in LAD. In my opinion just hysterical nonsense for most people. I'd stick to the British Heart Foundation and this site for all your info. On this site we've all been through it and it is worrying but a few months from now you'll be feeling much better and ready for a happy healthy summer. Oh and the stenting procedure is no big deal. Just lie back and let the experts get on with it.

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Hi again Ceorl

Just to clarify my last post, my stenting procedure was not carried out at Huddersfield RI but at another hospital although Huddersfield is my local hospital. A month after my stents were fitted I did see a cardiac nurse at the other hospital but not a cardiologist. You will probably get to see a cardiologist a month after your procedure, everyone else I have spoken to has. It was just that I really wanted to see a cardiologist to answer some questions which is where I hit a brick wall with my local hospital, Huddersfield. So the NHS seems unable to handle the pressure of so many patients in some cases but once you get to see the medical team you will find they are brilliant. By the way I had angina and lived perfectly well with it for 15 years before having my heart attack so don't worry about a few months. As I said in my earlier post you'll feel so much better for summer.

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Cheers Pecker, feeling good for Summer sounds great, we’ve just booked our holiday so I want to be able to enjoy it.

I know I need to be patient and have faith in the NHS, it’s just my way to want to meet something like this head-on and get it sorted.

As I said I’d been feeling pretty good the last few weeks and concentrating on eating right, staying active and being optimistic, but the ‘how long is a piece of string’ type answers I’ve been getting whilst trying to chase a date have set me back a bit. I’m just worried that ‘it’ will get to me before the docs manage to!

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