British Heart Foundation

Anxiety and chest pain sorry it's a long one

It's weird and im not even sure what day it is today ..oh yeah Tuesday.

Any one that has been following my post will know that for 4 years I have been getting chest pain and hot flushes and it has be put down to stress but with no help or way of understanding how to deal with it .

In September last year after a summer of struggling to breath and a dull ache in my chest and shoulder I go in to work and have a pain that made me feel like I was having a heart attack ..no stress at the time just phyically working hard.

I went and found my colleges and although in pain sweaty and very grey I sat it out (these guys are all first aiders, but I'd been getting pain for a while) it went of a bit and I made my way home .

I went to docs in the morning and was told I should have dialled 999 ! As I hadn't an I wasn't showing any real symptoms then she revered me to the rapid chest clinic who referred me for a ct scan , who phoned me 2 days after the appointment to tell me I had 2 severely blocked arteries and need to start aggressive medication treatment and wait for an angiogramme.poss 6 to 8 weeks .I waited over 14 weeks as the hospital was so busy and would still be waiting now if I didn't get sent to A and E because the angina attacks were happening at rest ,even while I was sleeping.

Off to A &E last Monday, I sat there all day waiting for a bed .they were manic and I felt bad that I was taking up their time ...eventually I got put on a f

Trolly and up to the Acute Admissions Unit to await a bed in Cardio for an angiogramme, I spent 3 days in AAU, 3days being nil by mouth until the evening as they couldn't find me a bed in cardio ...i watched and heard some very sad things including 2 very old ladies bing told they had very little time left to live. And dont even think about trying to sleep in such a ward ...it is the Piccadilly circus of the hospital and they do an amazing job.

Any way on Thursday which just happened to be my 61st birthday they found a bed in cardio for me , I was trollied of and given an ultrasound whilst there. Then I was transferred to the day ward for the angiogramme. I was very scared as I had taken my own mum Through this 2 years ago. But I thought it's ok I'm going to get 'fixed ' for my birthday .

The procedure was no problem at all and the good news is the ct scan was wrong! And I didn't have 2 severely blocked arteries I only had 30% blockage in the main LAD !!!

So after the angio team sang happy birthday i was sent home in a date.

Nothing was fixed ,nothing needed fixing !

I still get to take all the pills , I still have chest pains and sweats !

So back to my gp to give her the results and she decided it's anxiety she gives me breathing exercises and asked me to make an appointment to see a councillor... I feel such a fraud , but also let down by the ct scan that made me and my family feel I was very sick .

I still physically unwell ,nothing has changed except the diagnosis..its not surprising that I feel depressed and anxious,I am off course over the moon that my heart condition is not as bad as first thought but now I feel in limbo land ...

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Hi Mrsbee, you have had a tough time of it.

OK, from what I know and read, 30% they usually treat with medication, not an exact science. I don't buy the anxiety card, go back and see your GP, the meds you are on may need tweaking especially as you are still in pain and suffering.

Google the meds you are on, ignore all the 'this will kill you side effects' and look for alternatives, give some suggestions to your gp and let them earn their money by formulating a proper plan with regular check ups for you.

Call the BHF, 0300 330 3311, have a chat with them.

take care

Mark

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Thanks for taking the time to read my post and thanks the advice ..im going to try and chill out a bit and see what's next

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I understand your bafflement. My last job was putting my BP through the roof but I didn't find it stressful, I was enjoying it. I have no idea why my BP went up.

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I have a telephone appointment to talk to a councillor tomorrow ..but I think this forum does me more good .x

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Could you have artery spasms or Microvascular Angina? These can happen at rest and I had this sort of angina for years. After two angiograms which were clear the cardiologist admitted that I could have what she called Cardiac Syndrome X which is now better know as Microvascular Angina and is quite difficult to diagnose although I do think it can be seen on an angiogram if they check for it.

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Yes thankyou someone else messaged me with that..and I looked it up ...its possible and I will keep it in mind if and when I go back , sadly the hospital took away the one pill that may have helped that condition...im a bit up in the air at the moment but if it continues I will go back and talk to my doc again ,although she seems to have dismissed me

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I can understand your frustration. I had angina attacks for years and also a couple of what I am sure were heart attacks but because my arteries weren't blocked my cardiologist dismissed me too. Eventually the angina became unsteady angina and I was diagnosed with heart failure. It was only when I was given a MRI that they realised the smaller blood vessels were blocked. It may be worthwhile checking.

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Wow ...thats a little scary ..its no wonder we get anxious if we are dismissed until heart failure I hope all's well with you now .x

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It can be scary. I have learnt to be more persistent now and won't be fobbed off. My angina attacks are now reduced from up to 15 per day to just 2-3 a week but I have all the other symptoms that now come with heart failure plus some unpleasant side effect from the meds.

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It's seems one step forward two steps back ..i am reasonably ok on the pills ..a little tummy trouble and the get spray kicks me in the head like a mule ..my biggest problem is I don't like nagging or feeling like I'm a nuisance so I will struggle to go back to docs if I need to ...but hopefully the counselling may help with that if nothing else ... I wish you well xx

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Yes, that GTN gives me terrible headaches too.

I hope the counselling is of help to you. I have recently been assessed for chronic illness counselling as well and I am waiting to get my first appointment.

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What is chronic illness counselling.

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Chronic illness counselling is for people who have long term illness to help them learn to deal with it by looking at coping strategies. I have now been offered CBT for six sessions of half an hour once a week. I am not sure if it will be intense enough to be of help as I have several health conditions which are causing me to feel depressed but I am ready to try anything.

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I agree with the earlier poster that you shouldn't just buy the 'anxiety' card.

If nothing else had changed in your life prior to the initial attacks and you don't feel anxious or stressed, I would ask your Doctor to explain that diagnosis.

Mine tried to tell me that the chest pain, extreme tiredness and tingling up my back was anxiety. Within a month I had, had two heart attacks. One due to a blockage in my Septal artery, but the other, much bigger and much more damaging, down to Microvascular spasm.

If you feel things are wrong, you should persist with your Doctor. My Dad was a Doctor and taught me two things as a child. 'Doctors are just human beings. Sometimes they make mistakes' but even more important 'Your Doctor can only know something is wrong if you tell him / her. If telling them doesn't resolve the problem, keep discussing it with them until you find a solution'

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Here is the information I sent Mrs B everyone.

bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-ma...

bhf.org.uk/publications/hea...

bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-ma...

I live with coronary artery spasms and Microvascular angina . I take long acting nitrates, 2 calcium blockers, nicorandil, statins and blood thinners

In my experience any cardiologist who uses the term Cardiac syndrome X does not have an up to date understanding of the condition. In the past CSX was considered to be just a nuisance and not harmful.

The latest evidence says otherwise. Those living with this condition are more at risk of heart attack and heart failure.

I suggest you ask to see a Cardiologist who if not knowledgeable about the condition is sympathetic and will work with you to find the combination of drugs that work best for you.

Print out the BHF information leaflet take with you, ask the Cardiologist to read it, if they refuse to read it ask why? BHF leaflets are all evidence based and are well researched and written.

This condition is under recognised and I have on more than one occasion been told it is all in my head....I had a very specialised test that showed my coronary artery spasms.

I have the support of a Cardiac Psychologist and physiotherapist. A wonderful family and I volunteer for the BHF who have been very responsive to my and Jennifer Waller's requests to provide accurate information on the BHF website about MVA.

I go into hospital about once a year when my spasms are severe. Slowly the staff are becoming more aware about the condition and the BHF updated the information on their website and now use them Microvascular angina.

You will need to be persistent be prepared to challenge the fixed attitude of some Cardiologists, cardiac nurses and GP etc that you can only have cardiac chest pain with blocked coronary arteries.

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The information is very useful .Thankyou

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Hello, sorry to hear you have been having so many problems. I was treated for angina with 1 stent 2 years ago. Do have some problems again. Found a article in a Dutch magazine, a cardiologist who specalizes in womens heart disease, Professor Angela Maas, and she said woman's symptons are different from men's. Often missed because they are like what we get in the menopause, hot flushes, sudden (extreme) fatigue. She also mentions microvascular angina. This has been mentioned to me before, but then dismissed, but I am looking into it and will be printing of some of the info for when I see the GP or cardiologist again. So do go back to GP if you have problems.

All the best, Anke

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Hi Anke,

I am glad to hear that you feel the BHF information leaflets about MVA will be useful.

I hope the information will help you to access the appropriate care for your ongoing issues. Microvascular angina and coronary artery spasms are both such poorly understood and recognised conditions at the moment.

Mainly because at present there is no widely available non invasive test to detect it.

Good luck

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I’ve enjoued reading your story and im very sorry to hear about the mistakes. I too feel adrift. I think that’s almost as painful as the wrong diagnosis isn’t it.

My feeling adrift is because I was shockingly diagnosed in November with severe aortic stenosis caused by a faulty aortic valve. I had no idea because I had no symptoms. I got an appointment with a cardiologist in February which meant I knew nothing about what was happening to me and I had to get through Xmas and the birth of my first grandchild with this hanging over me. After being v depressed and scared I took myself by the braces and instead held a pre Xmas party, catered for everyone actually at Xmas and helped my daughter with her new baby.

But! I finally saw a valve specialist earlier who said that if the measurements were as discovered he would have kept me in there and then. So he did some more testing, decided the new results were slightly better and I’ve heard nothing more in nearly 4 months. I have called the hospital a few times and it appears a clerical error caused my notes to be lost. I still don’t know what’s happening. I do think my symptoms are worsening but I don’t have anyone to talk to and I’m getting a bit scared now.

It’s not just scaring me but my family too.

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Thanks for sending your comment ..wow it sounds like you are in a termol too , firstly I would try and ring the surgeons secretary and get a clear idea of what they plan for you and tgen i would get on to your gp .

As they decided my condition wasn't as bad as they 1dt thought I have been left with no contact just a repeat prescription of pills ..i have no idea when or if to go back to the doctor , but I did do a self referral to the mental health (wellbeing ) clinic and I have an appointment on Monday to talk about anxiety so hopefully that will help me get my head around stuff ...i also hit my head 2 weeks ago and have concession and on top of that the lurgy ..lol I have laugh because I would cry ...but all in all I have to take from it all that my heart is not as bad as first diagnosed and I need to get back on with my life .

I hope you find some answers soon , try not to worry (it really doesn't help) and keep pestering them until you know where your at .congratulations on your grandchild. Take care. Jax

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