Rotablation: Hi all. Well 4 1/2 years... - British Heart Fou...

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Heather1957 profile image

Hi all.

Well 4 1/2 years after my bypass surgery I found myself with similar angina pains although things went slightly differently this time.

At first I think I was in denial about the pain 'was it imagined' 'was it indigestion'? In the end I could ignore it no longer so last Monday (18th) I phoned the doctors and arranged a call back, I then carried on with my day, I drove with my sister and sister in law to the Range and then to the Harvesters for an early lunch. While there the GP phoned back and advised I go to the hospital for an ECG and bloods. Last time I went through a long winded referral system. I suppose now I am confirmed with heart problems I don't have to do this.

Anyway, I dropped everyone off then drove to the hospital, parked up and thought I'd be back home that nights.

I arrived at the hospital at about 2 pm and at 6.30 pm the A & E Dr said I would be admitted. Now 4 1/2 hrs isn't bad you'd think but this is where the fun starts.

I am on a bed in cubicle 3 of A & E, no one speaks to me or sees me for 4 hrs even though I keep asking what's going on. At 2am the 'medical' Dr comes to see me, prescribes Gaviscon as she believes the pain is Gastric (Here we go again) she also sent me for a chest x ray, requires another blood test and another ECG.

At 9 am she returns with a registrar who says the results show I have not had a heart attack!!! I never thought I had and he thought it was a gastric problem. I was now losing my cool, I was very upset having had no sleep lying on a plastic mattress all night and not being told what was going on, I had not been given anything to eat since arriving the day before. I asked if I was still being admitted or if they were discharging me. He then said that I had convinced them the pain I had was unstable Angina and I would have a heart scan and be seen by a cardiologist,

At 2 pm I was admitted to a ward, I never had the scan that day or saw anyone from cardiology, I settled on the ward for the night.

Next day (Wednesday) I had the scan and was seen by a cardiologist who was lovely. She said based on my history and family history it was best to have an Angiogram to see what was happening, The plan was to have me taken to the teaching hospital where they do angioplasty so if I needed stents they would do it all in one go.

I remained in hospital and was told on Thursday I would have the procedure on the Friday. So early start on Friday, I was picked up at 7 am and taken to the Heath in Cardiff ready for the Angiogram.

I was first down at 9 am and can honestly say my bypass surgery was a piece of cake compared to this!! I spent nearly 2 1/2 hrs having it done, don't get me wrong I am very grateful to all involved and even in my weakened state I thanked them but my God what pain!! As they started the Angiogram they told me I needed 2 stents fitted, unfortunately the arteries had a lot of calcium in them so they had to drill them, I have since discovered this process is called Rotablation and it really is a fantastic procedure which avoids bypass surgery by allowing them to fit a stent where usually one can't be fitted. But I was in such pain, from the wrist where they used a large catheter to accommodate the drill to the heart which was also hurting so much, they kept dosing me with fentanyl but it didn't appear to help and from the heart itself.

Good manners kicked in and as I was leaving I did thank them (I was brought up properly)

I was told that instead of taking me back to my original hospital I was to stay the night at the Heath as the process had been so rough.

Due to the ongoing pain and an anomaly found on the ECG at 4 pm I was back down having a further Angiogram but luckily all was clear and this angiogram was relatively painless.

I was taken to the ward and given a proper bed, my head was pounding and I still had a lot of heart pain. I had to go to the loo as I just had to be sick and there was no way I was going to do it a bed pan!! Anyway I was hooked up to a monitor, dosed with more pain killers and by about 7 pm I had passed out.

Next day, so much better still some pain in my heart and I was told that was to be expected as they had stretched my arteries and I had an intrusive procedure! My headache was reduced to a light thud and I felt human again.

After 24 hrs of monitoring I was discharged armed with 5 new medicines to take (OMG)

My bypass was relatively painless compared to this but in the cold light of day I realise how lucky we are to live in a World (and country) where they can drill into the arteries of the heart.

It is a process I hope never to experience again but who knows!!

Sorry this has been so long, I like to use this as a diary for myself but also maybe someone else will find it useful.

If anyone has any questions regarding Rotablation please ask, mine was entirely unexpected but how fantastic this kind of thing can be done!

I can't drive for 7 days but will enjoy the enforced 'staying at home', putting my feet up and just chilling for the week, I am taking some pain relief as the heart pain is still there but easing off.

Have a lovely Sunday people I hope there are no more surprises ahead this next week.

55 Replies

Oh my goodness what a ride you have had, it was such a read, wishing you a great recovery.

Best wishes Pauline

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to 080311

Thank you, all done and dusted in a week though, the bypass took about 7/8 months to get sorted!

080311 profile image
080311 in reply to Heather1957

I had Aortic valve replaced and bypass done 5 years ago so can appreciate the speed!

Hello :-)

It sounds like no matter where you are A&E is the same as you described it and I am not where you are you could have been describing ours and I felt for you and when they do not talk to you and keep you informed , no liquid , nothing you feel worse than when you went in !

I am glad though eventually you got to see the experts and agree you had quite a ride but pleased they sorted it all out and you are home and after that I would use not been able to drive to put my feet up :-) x

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to BeKind28

I think my biggest frustration was them not listening to me when I told them it was the same as last time and that was Angina, they were so determined it was digestive. When I spoke to one of the cardiologists and told him they had me so confused I wasn't sure what it was anymore and he told me it was his job to find out not mine to know. I could have cried as I felt I wasn't wasting anyone's time and look how it turned out!

BeKind28 profile image
BeKind28 in reply to Heather1957

I have had very similar experiences when I have been to A&E , I really do get where you are coming from

Thank goodness though that you are now home recovering and fingers crossed you don't go again :-) x

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to BeKind28

Oh I hope not but 4 years ago I thought the same!

Oh my goodness what a time you’ve had Heather. It sounds like things were frustrating at times and not very comfortable. Thank goodness you were able to have the stents fitted fairly quickly, doesn’t sound very pleasant though. I bet you are glad it is all over and that you can now put your feet up at home and rest.Take good care of yourself

Ethel xx❤️

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Ethel13

At least I didn't have time to get worried about it!

Ethel13 profile image
Ethel13 in reply to Heather1957

That’s true, nothing worse than the wait x

We are in the same area as you and having similar problems getting help. My husband was supposed to go down the Heath last week from another hospital to wait for his angiogram that has been booked in a week Monday. Instead I'm taking him in as long as everything goes to plan. Another bad day today be glad when he gets it done Take care and all the best, glad your sorted.

It makes sense to go to the Heath as they can do this drill treatment if needed and also fit just stents. When I had my bypass I had the Angiogram at the Royal Glamorgan but they can't do any further treatment so if I had needed stents I would have had to be referred to the Heath for an Angioplasty (angiogram and stents) as it was I needed by pass surgery which was done at the Heath. Hopefully everything will go okay for your husband and he will get the treatment he needs.

Hiya Heather. So, you had a rough week then, sorry to hear that 😞!! At least you're sorted now 😀 I had my two Valves Replaced with a Double Bypass at Llandough last year and then taken to the Heath for a Pacemaker. I was in for a total of 6 Weeks but, have to say, the Care in both Hospitals were both absolutely fantastic 😀😃!! I would never hesitate or worry about having any Treatment there again, (hopefully I won't, but who knows???). Look after yourself 😀😃

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to

Oh I appreciate that we are so lucky to have such facilities on our doorstep.I just wish that the general medical personal in A & E accept that most of us know our bodies better than anyone, especially if we have had previous cardio problems in the past.

Once I got through that bit I found the staff at both the Royal Glam and the Heath were lovely, from the people who served the cuppa and meals right through to the cardiologists.

It seems the norm for them all to introduce themselves by their first names now (how times have changed)

Luckily there are loads of Christmas films on so I can spend the next 6 days engrossed in those! LOL.

in reply to Heather1957

Yeah I know exactly what you mean. I don't like A & E at all. I'll only go there if I feel I'm dying lol... 😀. It's like a day out. My Son had to go there last Week after having a bump in Work and cut his Head and waited 11 hours!! That was at the local Hospital and not in Cardiff. Had my Angiogram in the Royal Glam weeks before I was due to have Surgery. They were fantastic as well. We are SO lucky with the NHS though like you say. I'm off now, waiting for Strictly ha ha 😀😃. Enjoy your Tele x

That sounded all very hectic heather but hope things start to get better for you now take care 😊x

Thank you onward and upward.

Wow that’s certainly an interesting story to read- glad you came through it in the end. I hoped that a bypass would be it- fixed for life but perhaps I’m being naive!!!

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Gail1967

When I had the bypass 4 years ago I only needed a single bypass and hoped that would be that. It seems that isn't always the case. The bypass was still absolutely fine it was another artery that was causing the problem.

My goodness what an ordeal! Did they give a reason for your arteries blocking up again so soon after your bypass? Were you on statins? This is my fear after my bypass. I thought you were fixed for a good 10 years after one.

All the time I was reading this I was wondering what happened to your car. It must have been left at the first hospital for days. Definitely clamped and fined around here!

Glad you are at the right side of things and wish you a speedy recovery and open arteries! Xxx

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to DunnoY

Firstly to deal with the car, here in Wales parking is free so I am sure it would have been okay, I was more concerned about vandalism or theft so my sister and her husband took it to their house after 2 days (it is still there as I can't drive yet) No idea why my arteries blocked up so soon, one of the things the Drs in A & E kept saying was the bypass was fairly new so unlikely to be a problem, it was another artery that was the problem.

I was on statins but they increased the dose from 40 mg to 80 mg now.

I do think my main problem is that I am diabetic which is always a problem.

The new statins are huge, here is the difference between 40 and 80 mgs

Statin 40 and 80 mgs

My goodness what a week you had. Wishing you a good rest this week and a speedy recovery x

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Bishop1

I still feel a little rough so happy to just chill out

You had quite an ordeal but good to know you are now on the road to recovery again. Take care.

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Janma123

Thank you, hopefully I'll be pain free for a while.

Very interesting post.I had five stents 2017

Five bypasses 2019

And I wondered what would happen if I had angina again.

This gives me some insight. Thanks 🙏🏻


My name is Bond, James Bond and I take my Aspirin shaken not stirred 🍸


Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to -007-

it is pretty amazing what can be done in 2021!

Hi Heather, just over a year ago I was experiencing regular bouts of angina, and bypass surgery was recommended. However, another cardiology consultant looked at my images, and felt rotablation & stenting was a suitable alternative for my situation. In due course I was booked into St Thomas' hospital (my local hospital does not have the specialised kit required for this process), and my coronary arteries duly drilled out and 5 stents successfully inserted. I think you will agree it is a weird experience feeling and hearing that high speed drilling going on inside your chest!

Btw, you are the only other person I have heard from who has undergone this procedure.

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Dralex

I had never heard of this process before so was surprised when they said that was what they were going to do. I was already lying down on the angiogram table when they said they would have to drill the arteries to fit the stents. I actually felt a lot of pain and seriously I have a high pain threshold. Yes the sound of the drill is quite disconcerting but the pain was real, I just hope I never have to have this done again. It is amazing what can be done in this day and age and we need to enjoy everyday as we just don't know what lies ahead, Very cliché I know but so true.

Quite an experience you've had!I had my quadruple bypass 4 and a half years ago,so although what you describe is pretty daunting it is good to know that something can still be done should the old problem arise. My original symptoms were quite vague though and I do worry sometimes about certain aches and pains, are they old age, are they medication or are they the arteries playing up again!

Anyway hope you continue to keep well after your ordeal and thank you for sharing your story.

Thank goodness there are still some options after bypass surgery, I have a family history of coronary disease so am aware this may still not be the end for me.

gosh you really have been in the wars, do hope after all your treatment you feel better. interested in your comments re rotablation. after my second heart attack, first one had 2 stents fitted, they found like you calcium deposits. they tried every which way to fit stents without success. this was some 4 years ago. anyway i was aware of rotablation and mentioned this to my cardiologist who said if i was you i would keep well aware from folk like us. so either my calcium deposits were not as bad as yours or 4 years ago it was just not that common a procedure. anyway my angina is being successfully treated by drugs but i of course am aware although they did angioplasty they were unable to fit more stents. do i let sleeping dogs lie and wait for the next bout as still not sure if rotablation is now more commonly practiced as its not without its risks. all the very best

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to einhorn

As soon as I was discharged I looked it up as I had never heard of it before, it seems it wasn't THAT common but seems to be getting that way as more people are trained in it. I have to wonder at the concept that they actually drill into the arteries in your heart, astounding really.

Hope you don't mind me asking but do you follow a diet that might help reduce calcium build-up and do you take any vitamins for the same reason?

oh my life you poor thing.i had 4 stents fitted in the heath 16 months ago was in surgery for 9 hours it all went wrong when i had a massive haemmorage and lost 4 units of blood. took 4 months to get over it then the stents restenosed and had to have it all done again, had it at the grange this time 5 self medicating stents this time , 9 months down the line im a jibbering wreck, hate hospitals, not good on the exercise front walk a mile a day sometimes every few days, keep well and let us know how you get on

Well Pammy I think it is poor you as what happened to you sounds awful, at least my process seems to have gone to plan! When I was on the ward there was a lady from Chepstow who hadn't had a good experience of the Grange. When I had my bypass in 2017 it was the Heath or Morriston hospitals but it seems that the Grange has a Cardiac centre that can do all the major stuff, I don't know if it is true though.

Well thanks for that lol The first part of your post sounds like me.

I have had bypass surgery and a further couple of stents so 2015 bypass surgery and the left arm pain went away.

2018 really breathless so Angio and MRI, 2 stents to LAD branch through wrist, LAD has been bypassed in 2015 !!

RCA 100 % blocked Cardiologist said not worth the Risk to open, but could be opened by Rotablation through Groin and Wrist at the same time, but he would only consider it if Angina returned so I have ignored the left arm pain on walking,

My GTN spray had date expired so on my repeat prescription I requested a new one, phone call from GP why, I hadn't used GTN for 3 years. So after seeing her she wrote to Cardiology and I am due a call from Cardiologist 2nd November to see what is going on !!! My GP isn't run of the mill She is Sharp.

I told her my best friend had died from Meso theme aloma so she just booked a chest X-Ray to check, as we both worked in Power Plants for around 40 years in a industry notorious for using Asbestos

Back to Rotablation I don't think I will mention my Left Arm discomfort after reading your experience see I have moved from pain to discomfort getting ready for the conversation. I do hope your pain will turn out to be worthwhile and that you are now feeling better.

Regards from a Heart Survivor after Bypass Surgery, Stents, Heart Attack and Now with Heart Failure albeit Moderate 40% ef I am just going to take my next door neighbours Dog for a Walk about 2 miles, but I think I should go to Bed instead !!!

Take care and stay well

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Prada47

From reading up on this I may have just been unlucky as most reports say mild discomfort. What was worse was when the senior doctor said they had to go in again to see what was happening!!! The 2nd angiogram was relatively painless but all in all I felt battered and bruised.4 days after my 2017 angiogram I had a stroke, luckily there was no long term damage but MRI showed full stroke and I had the headache from Hell straight after the angiogram. This time I was told this can be a side effect of the dye so to have 2 lots made me feel my head was exploding!!

The important thing is you have the treatment you need for a longer and fuller life.

It is a lovely day here in South Wales but for now I am under a throw on the recliner feeling sorry for myself.

I was discharged on Saturday with 5 lots of new medication but no information on what happens next, I wonder should I ring my GP to ask follow ups?

Prada47 profile image
Prada47 in reply to Heather1957

Hi Heather

I will be straight up with Cardiologist I like him and have faith in him, and he is regarded as one of the best in the Country at PCI and Rotablation

ps know S Wales quite well OH is from the Valley's we must be sharing the weather as it's a nice day in Dorset !!

Current meds for me Entresto 49/51 twice a day Bisoprolol 7.5mg Omeprazole 20mg Aspirin75mg Pravastatin 10mg Eplerenone 25mg Standard Meds !!!


Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Prada47

The woman I saw last week was not the Cardiologist I was seeing for the bypass, she said I can see that Dr ???? was the cardiologist you saw last time, I said I did and he was lovely, her response 'he has his moments'! I get the feeling there was no love lost! LOL

Well I'm surprised you can be so circumspective, well done! I did enjoy your review of circumstances 👏😂 but it does say a lot about the state of the NHS, sadly.

I would however, be pleased to hear how after 4.5 years post heart bypass surgery, your veins/arteries were blocked again. Having survived 13 months and resumed normal living (except the fags 😒) although I do do lots of sport and better diet etc. how come yours became blocked again????

I do hope you are well 😊

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Wooodsie

I am sure my diabetes has a lot to do with it.

Just spoke to my GP who has had a letter from the Heath and the shocking news for me was that the biggest issue was the in the bypass artery, it has actually shocked me as I am sure I was told that the graft was still doing fine. All this has knocked me for 6 TBH. I think it's going to be an afternoon of crying so glad I am on my own.

I was only 59 when I had the bypass and was told that was quite young I am now just 64 so am worried how quickly it has all happened.

Bloody Covid better hurry up and get sorted as there are several places I need to visit before I go.

Blocked again? Is that what you are saying? Heather, you are not going anywhere. They will sort you out, don't worry. 😊

Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Wooodsie

The bypass they did 4 years ago was blocked, this is very unusual as a bypass usually lasts in excess of 10 years!!

Gosh, that's aweful. How did you find out? Were you poorly again.

Hi HeatherFirstly I am sorry you have had a torrid time, its the not knowing which seems to make matters worse.

You are the first person I have heard of who has had rotabation I had it done 2013.

The pain was unbearable I was 58 at the time ,I remember the surgeon

asking to nurse to help him! 5 stents later was sent back back to recover.After a couple of months off work I felt much better eventually going back to my job.

Then in 2019 I had really bad angina attack was in hospital for 8 days ,on release from hospital I still have a lot of chest pain GTN spray helped sometimes!.

I'm still off work nearly 2 years on in that time I've had another angiogram, and more recently a MRI scan which I was told was normal so I'm not sure regarding the future have a phone appointment with my doctor next week but not expecting much. I just wish doctors and consultants would give more information.

Wish you well for the future.

I bet it was all quite new in 2013 and the Doctors who use it are more capable. That said on reading up on it there doesn't seem to be any mention of the pain just the noise of the drill, but like me you suffered, luckily I just needed 2 long stents.The lack of information is criminal really. I phoned my GP and she spoke to me from the notes and while I am grateful for that information I am slightly unclear where the blockage was.

I thought I was told the mammary artery that was used for the bypass was still clear but the GP told me the blockage was in the artery they bypassed last time. Do they mean it was the mammary artery?

Ideally I would like to see the cardiologist at the hospital just to clarify things even though I had only met her for about 10 mins.

The GP said there is nothing in the notes about a follow up, I'd like to know how bad things are and if there are further problems what are my options (if any). Do I spend my savings or keep waiting for Covid to lift so I can travel again.

Information is so important.

Hi Heather

Hope your feeling better, I did forget to mention the noise of the drill it was nearly 9 years ago !I really just remember the pain even with them giving me morphine .

With regard to your situation I would hold tight, let things settle down

And then maybe make an appointment to see your GP and then decide to see a consultant if you're still worried.

I am going to wait to see if I am called back to see 'someone'. In some ways it isn't so much I am worried (although of course I am) but I don't feel I have a handle on everything that happened and I do feel I should and want to know exactly what they did and where they did it, in layman's terms of course. 😀

Hi HeatherI fully understand your position,I think every one deserves the right to know what has taken place and what has been done and what the future holds.

As I said I had my stents 5 in 2013 in the January, and at the time I asked the consultant on more than one occasion if I had an heart attack.

He assured me I had not, because I was traveling abroad to a wedding that year.I needed to clarify this for travel insurance purposes and in the years leading up to 2019. Imagine to my horror after my MRI scan this year I was told there was evidence that I had possibly had a heart attack.

This information would of made my insurance invalid and worthless.

As patients all we ask for is information that we can understand and take in. I don't think that is to much to ask I hope you make a speedy recovery

And more importantly information about your surgery.

Thank you, blimey it must have been a surprise having been told you hadn't had a heart attack only to find out you had. I suppose insurance wise any travel prior to the MRI would have been okay as your notes would have said no heart attack but could have become muddied if they carried out the MRI on holiday!! I'm not going to become a drama queen about all this as I doubt there is much I can do even if I knew all the ins and outs, a change in life style is required whatever, especially as my diabetes has done it's own thing recently.

With Covid starting to peak again I do worry that travel will be taken away again and I wonder when I'll start my travelling again.

I am lucky that I retained my work insurance and it is a 'group' insurance that will cover me until I am 70. It only has 3 clauses, 1) not terminally ill, 2) Not travelling against Drs advice and 3) Not travelling to get medical treatment. I am 64 so need things to improve travel wise while I feel well enough to travel.

Very pleased to receive a phone call from the cardiac nurse asking to see me appointment made for next Tuesday morning to do necessary checks. She will also said they would look at signing me up for heart health fitness which I didn't do last time as they cancelled initial appointment twice and I went back to work.I am really relieved that I will be seeing so I can ask follow up question, glad the system is still working even with Covid.

The nurse said she had seen me 4 years ago so we won't be complete strangers.

That is really good Heather1957 all the best.

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