Just getting worse. : Hello everyone.I... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

41,193 members26,408 posts

Just getting worse.

Becdan profile image
28 Replies

Hello everyone.I had a heart attack in August and had a stent fitted.

This was all fine and I was discharged after a couple of days and was a happy man, feeling lucky and ready to get back to some sort of normality. However after a few weeks I had a setback when some nasty chest pains had me visiting A&E.

This happened again a couple of weeks later and has really set me back and even though I was told that everything was fine after 3 ECG's, a clear chest xray and unremarkable Troponin levels, I can't seem to shake this feeling of impending doom. I was told at the time that they didn't think that the pains were heart related, but every little pain or twinge has me panicking and feeling sick and scared. I have an appointment with my GP in a weeks time and have been discharged from the care of my cardiologist. I feel like a whimp for saying this, but I am just a wreck. I really need help to get over this. Any advice welcome. Thanks in advance. Sorry for the long post

28 Replies

Hello :-)

First things first you are not a wimp at all

When we have a life changing event not all but a lot of us it shatters our confidence and leaves us traumatised and it can do this to the strongest people not the weak ones

I had 3 heart attacks and Bypasses and I still worry and every twinge ache pain I still get in a state and if that makes me a wimp as you think you are then so be it but what I think it makes me is someone that is struggling to come to terms with things and that is quite normal for some of us

But look at your checklist

Stents in blood flowing nicely around the heart

Been to Hospital couple of times they have done all the tests and everything is fine

On meds to help keep your heart healthy

Doing some exercise even if gentle and eating healthy

When you look at that list you have everything on your side now to keep you safe

Talk with your Doctor and ask for Counselling but this is early days be kind to yourself and give yourself time to build back up your confidence it will come back :-) x

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to

Thank you for your comments & advice BeKind. I do keep trying to tell myself that everything is fine but then something else will happen as it did today and it just seems to set me back again. You certainly don't sound like a wimp with what you have been through and I wasn't aiming that comment to anyone other than myself. Thank you. Take care.

in reply to Becdan

Hello :-)

I never thought you were aiming that comment at anyone else at all I was just pointing out or trying to that you are not on your own feeling the way you do and so if you think you are a wimp then I am to as I worry just like you :-)

I hope tomorrow brings a better day and if you have time let us know how your Doctors appointment goes :-) x

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to

Will do. Thanks again. X

in reply to Becdan

:-) x

AlfredV profile image

I share a similar story to yours. I had an expectation that things would start to settle after a few weeks, but for me it was a full 18 months before I had a day where I experienced no chest pains.

Like you, I had a heart attack, and what helped me through those 18 months was knowing that the pain I was experiencing wasn't the same pain as when I had the heart attack.

I hope that helps a little and that you start to see some improvement soon.

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to AlfredV

Hello AlfredV. I will have to keep that in mind, although I always thought that there was different types of heart pain, because I mentioned to one of the A&E nurses that it wasn't the same pain and her reply was 'it doesn't have to be'.

Thank you.

BigGary profile image

had exactly the same experience. Chest pain continued on exertion and cold but told not heart related and discharged after two heart attacks and several stents and balloons. Went private and diagnosed with micro vascular angina - I take pills as prescribed and stop what I’m doing if it hurts! Just getting on with life now. Good luck to you.

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to BigGary

Hello GaryThanks for your reply.

I hope that you are doing well now.

I will have to look up micro vascular angina. Still quite new to this.

Take care.

Thank again

Letsallhope1 profile image

hello Becdan,

I’m sorry you’re understandably worried and cannot enjoy your life anymore.

Having had multiple open heart surgeries I can think that the pain you feel could be nerves endings shooting out while your body repairs itself.

Even after years to be fair, I get shooting pains in my chest, sometimes really quite strong and catching me by surprise.

At first I would not believe my medical team telling me that I was not having a heart attack.

After 3 - 4 years of these pains which come and go and still be around and writing this I can only agree with them ☺️

All the best and I hope your pains will settle soon.

Scroll profile image

hi Becdan, similar August heart attack and Stent fitted, some days top of the world, then I have episodes, just recovering today actually after yesterday, I get arythmias that pop up every so often and make me feel terrible, they are currently trying to catch them, had a 48 hour tape, but even my cardiac nurse says it should be a 7 day tape at least.

So good days and bad days but it is good to talk.

Shellac profile image

I had a stent fitted in may and I was still in severe pain went to a@a@e 3 times all fine, seen my cardiologist and he checked for microvascular angina which I have now been diagnosed with, I started to think it was all in my head, speak to your cardiac rehabilitation nurses, saying that it is a life changing experience which effects us mentally also big hugs ❤

bwiltshi profile image

I had a heart attack nearly 7 years ago

bwiltshi profile image

I had a heart attack nearly 7 years ago at 64, having previously had episodes of what I thought was indigestion when exercising in the evening, when it was in fact angina. After a midnight heart attack and 3 emergency stents and another less urgent one 3 months later, my recovery was steady and very good. Did everything I was told, walked and walked, did the rehab, joined gym, exercise classes and duly dropped a stone and half over 9 months to be in pretty tip top condition for my age. But I still got the hint of angina when I pushed myself which went away when I slowed down. After consultation I had further angiogram and another stent and went back on recovery trail again but after a while same minor angina issues returned and got slightly worse over time. Had various meds changed, tried nitrates, and ranolazine which helped to some extent but as time progressed I still got gradually more restricted.

After consultation with GP and specialist cardio nurse, I was given alternative of further treatment by angiogram, potential bipass, or to go down the medication route. There was a suggestion that I too had micro angina and a damaged heart, with a deteriorating ejection fraction.

Took medication route 2 + years ago, added spironalactone, dapaglifozin and entresto (very low dose due to dizziness) I am very active but still have to limit myself in terms of exertion, but I can do everything and more a 70 something can expect. I am aware my heart is iffy, and it could all end in a moment but that applies to anyone really. I still get a little very predictable angina, but for the moment I will accept that as a reasonable limitation on my life. It is what it is, and I don't think there's a way of undamaging my heart. I don't think there's any point in trying further stents or surgery. All I can do is give my heart it's best chance by keeping my weight down, as fit as possible, and laugh as much as possible.

richard_jw profile image

You are not a whimp. Your situation matches mine exactly. After the MI, I had at least 9 visits to A&E. Most were demanded by the GP. None showed any sort of different test results.

I have been to several different cardiologists, and all say everything is OK. One basically says it's caused by stress etc.

There are tests like a Stress echo which measures such things as how well your heart is pumping normally and under stress. (the significant measurement is the ejection fraction. How well the left ventricle pumps blood into the rest of the body.

Has anyone suggested or have you had such a test done?

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to richard_jw

Firstly, can I just say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to reply to my post. It is much appreciated.I haven't had or been offered a stress echo.

Can my GP organise this as I have been signed off by my cardiologist?

I have been told that the most likely cause of the pains I am experiencing is by being overly anxious about having another heart attack, with some gastro and muscular skeletal aches and pains thrown in. I am hopeful that this is the case but find it hard to get my head around because I have only just started to have these pains since the heart attack so rightly or wrongly, quickly assume that they are heart related.

richard_jw profile image
richard_jw in reply to Becdan

No. a GP can't request a stress echo. He/she could write to your NHS cardiologist suggesting further action, normally it's the cardiologist who does the stress echo. It's non invasive (ultrasound). Alternatively you could have it done privately, maybe a normal echocardiogram which would be done by a technician and is therefore less expensive, but still needs to be interpreted by a cardiologist. I think the cost is around £300-400

The trouble of going down the investigation route is where do you stop? If you are really having significant chest pains, which require multiple doses of GTN something needs to be done, your GP needs to do an urgent referral

I get symptome which I attribute to the MI but they are not straightforward chest pains. In my case "normal" angina has been ruled out.

You have had the best A&E can do (which is troponin, Xrays etc. It's not a heart attack.

But you might need further tests

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to richard_jw

Thanks again for the reply. I have a GP appointment next week and I will ask him about everything mentioned in these replies.I just wanted to ask what you meant by "normal" angina has been ruled out in your case.

richard_jw profile image
richard_jw in reply to Becdan

It might be microvascular angina. Milkfairy knows more about this than I but it's certainly true that diagnosis is not straightforward, not is treatment.

Cardiologists usually know of it. In my case it was not diagnosed, rather than if it's not angina which can be seen via an angiogram it must be small vessel angina.

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to richard_jw

Thank you richard_jw. I will have to look into this.

Oaks6 profile image
Oaks6 in reply to Becdan

it’s interesting you had the pains since your heart attack, I’ve had a similar experience. After I had a heart attack ( I thought it was indigestion) I had the same pains a week later and ended up back in hospital.

I’ve had gastric/ chest pain for some while and after multiple tests they found little that would cause the pains. After a few months I seem to be having much less pain but I think I’m having gastric issues.

I’m sure stress is a big factor in this, as I had gastric problems years ago I’m sure was stress related.

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to Oaks6

Hello Oaks6. I would just like to point out that the pain which I had while having my heart attack was not like an indigestion pain. I think that it was a typical HA type pain from what I have been told since. The pains that I have been getting since are what I am told are probably more anxiety/gastro/muscular skeletal type pain and yes the gastro pains can be bought on/made worse by stress.

To me who has very little medical knowledge, any pain is scary.

Glad that you are getting less pain now though. Cheers

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star

You might find this article helpful.

There is a growing awareness of angina being caused by the small blood vessels in the heart not dilating in response to exercise, microvascular dysfunction which causes microvascular angina.

Another cause of angina without blocked coronary arteries is vasospastic angina, when the large blood vessels of the heart, go into transient, temporary contrictions. Coronary vasospasms.

I live with this type of angina. Vasospastic angina is thought to be the cause of 2% of cases of angina.

Approx 40% of people are found to have unobstructed coronary arteries, during an angiogram. However some continue to have chest pain. Many of these patients may have microvascular angina.


Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to Milkfairy

Thank you. I will check this out.

Qualipop profile image

You're not a wimp; you are having the exact same reaction most people have after a HA. complete shock. Hospitals are notoriously bad at giving information; they just treat you, open up blocked arteries and chuck you out with no thought of how it's affected you mentally. Then you wait weeks to be contacted by cardiac rehab that you didn't know you would get anyway because no one mentioned it. Then of course there are the side effects of all the tablets you are suddenly taking with no idea what they are meant to help. I ended up having every single tablet changed because of unbearable side effects. First step, talk to your GP, ideally face to face and get him to explain exactly what happened and why, how much - if any - damage was caused; what all the tablets are for and what you can expect now. You are 100% normal in how you feel. If and when you are offered rehab, jump at the chance. Exercise under medical supervision will do wonders for your confidence. Take this as a second chance. They've done the medical bit, now it's up to you to do the rest like changing lifestyle, removing whatever caused the blockage be it smoking, lack of exercise, cholesterol, weight or whatever; get on a heart healthy diet ie cut out or right down on pies pizzas, pasta, cakes, biscuits red meat and alcohol. ONly allowed as an occasional treat. Try to cook from fresh ingredients not take aways; smoking is a no and exercise a big yes but start gently. Enjoy the rest of your normal life.

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to Qualipop

Thank you. So much of what you have said is true, although I don't want to appear ungrateful to the medical staff, especially so with the meds.I will take this on board and I am already doing cardiac rehab. Take care

12345pink profile image

did you get a CD CALLED HEART RELAXATION WHICH IS VERY GOOD AND TELLS YOU HIW TO RELAX. I had a heart attack 4 hrs ago and still use it, it really clears the stress if any.

Becdan profile image
Becdan in reply to 12345pink

Hello. Sorry for the late reply. I have just seen your post.No I didn't receive any CD. I wonder if I can find it on YouTube or somewhere.


You may also like...