Arm pain during stent placement

I recently (5 days ago) had a cardiac cath and rPDA stent placement. I was fully awake, alert and aware during the procedure. I was told I would have conscious sedation. When I've had conscious sedation before I remembered next to nothing. This time I remember the doctors talking, heard what they said, saw them moving about, seeing the monitors when the things above my upper body weren't in the way. Is that normal these days with conscious sedation? Also, during the stent placement my left shoulder and upper arm really hurt. I finally mentioned it to the doctors because I thought they'd want to know. One simply said, "It's ok." (Or something like that.) When the procedure was done, the pain was gone. Has anyone experienced anything like that? I just wonder if I need to even mention it to my cardiologist when I see him in a week or so.

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Yep during my stent and subsequent angiograms I was fully awake as well. As they said my sedation would feel more like a couple of glasses of wine :) Personally I thought it was very interesting to see in real time what was happening. I was able to ask the surgeon what exactly I was seeing on the screens. The pain you felt was most likely caused from the temporary lack of blood to the area of your heart below the stent placement. Basically what you felt was like that pain in the left arm which many of us felt during an actual heart attack when blood is cut off to the area of our hearts below the blockage. When the stent is put in place they need to inflate a "balloon" inside of it in order to expand it. That for a very short period of time cuts off blood supply which returns to normal when the balloon is then deflated. Not to worry...very normal.

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My last radial arm cath sounds identical to what you have described above, from being awake and aware, to watching monitors, to the pain in my arm and shoulder. All of this is normal and I do not think that you need to mention this to your cardiologist.

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I would love to know how usual it is to have pains during Stent procedure too.

I had pain in my upper back and mainly 'right' not 'left' shoulder and neck pain with my heart attacks.

Shortly after the emergency procedure to insert 2 stents to my LAD began, pain became horrendous in those same areas (stents put thru the groin not the arm) It was so bad I begged them to stop or hurry and finish- at that point I didn't care what consequences would follow if they did - Of course they went through with it and granted they threw several things at the pain but nothing touched it. Next morning when the bleeding in the groin halted enough for me to sit up it finally went.

I'm so fearful of needing another stent procedure. I was fully awake. I never want to go through that pain again and I hope no one else has to go through it.

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I had emergency cardiac cath with the placement of two stents LAD and had no pain nor discomfort except for the initial groin incision and the need for serious pressure packs to get the bleeding to stop afterwards. That was my first and the only sedation I had was a benadryl. I didn't watch but had great ongoing conversation with the team - they were wonderful and informative but also had me laughing ... which was a major surprise given the situation!

My second cath to check on the earlier stents was also pain free and I did not have the post procedure problem with bleeding so it was even easier. Sedation was some kind of valium type meds - very mild, barely noticeable - and this time I watched the screens some.

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I also was awake and aware, though woozy, during both of my cath procedures. I did not feel pain in either arm during the procedure, but my right arm (my first cath was through the wrist) has bothered me off and on every since, and it's been more than 4 months now. There could be other reasons for that though, as I also have some tendonitis in my shoulder at the moment. I also still have periodic discomfort in my right groin area that was never there before the second cath ... my cardiologist said it was likely scar tissue.

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The level of sedation for heart caths is usually lighter than for other procedures using moderate sedation like EGD or colonoscopy. This is partly because there is somewhat less discomfort in the heart cath so they don't have to make you as sleepy and partly to preserve your blood pressure. My first heart cath was emergent and I remember thinking, "damn! Aren't they going to use any sedation?" But I was not uncomfortable so figured I would complain if I was. I did have pretty bad chest pain when they inflated the balloon in the artery, but they reassured me it wouldn't last long. At the end, I heard the nurse report the amount of fentanyl (pain medicine) and versed (anxiety medicine) and realized they had given me sedation, I just hadn't noticed it. I guess that's why I felt calm and kind of warm and fuzzy.

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Thanks to all of you who have responded. It helps to know what your experiences have been. I truly appreciate and welcome your input. I never used to be this way but I am a little shell shocked anymore and tend to sometimes over-react. To help you, maybe, understand here is my story. We are a small family of four. When our daughter was 18 she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She was given a very low percentage to live. That year of chemo, procedures and surgeries were hell for her. BUT, she beat the odds and is still free of cancer. A miracle. Because of the harsh chemo she was told she probably would never have kids - she has three beautiful miracles. Ten years, almost to the date, our son was diagnosed with a large brain tumor. Again, we were told by two doctors he would die. He also beat the odds and is fine today. His tumor was NOT cancer but it was large and took two neurosurgeons to remove it without any brain damage. Another miracle. Eight years after that my husband died of CJD - Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (human form of mad cow). He died in 56 days from time he started to act "differently." His two weeks in the hospital were pure torture for him (and us). No miracle that time. I was diagnosed with cancer four months after his death. Had bilateral breast removal, chemo, a teratoma on my ovaries, total hysterectomy and bladder surgery - all in 2004. 2006 brought my first cath and LAD stent placement. As I mentioned in my first post, I started with chest pains the day of my first round of chemo. In many ways, the heart things have been harder to deal with than my cancer. I was in such a state of shock through most of 2004 that I thought of the cancer as just a nuisance and certainly nothing like what my kids went through, or their dad. I felt the cancer was no big deal. I know I have been so blessed and the miracles far out-weigh the bad. It is hard, though, because even 8 years later I miss my husband so very much.
I think part of my problem is that I have WAY too much time to think. I stay busy. I'm very involved in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in our county. I am involved in my church and go see my grandkids in their many activities as much as I can. But, there are still those times when I am alone and have time to THINK. Finding this site has been a blessing and thanks to all of you for taking the time to response and reassure me. I do appreciate your thoughtfulness. God's blessings to all.

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Jkstan,

Goodness, you've had to deal with so much! I'm sorry to hear of your husband's death ...

I have two very dear friends with breast cancer and the difference between their experience and mine as a heart patient is ... interesting. In some ways I think the cancer is more "clear" - here's the disease, here's the treatment, test for results - while heart disease is more subtle and harder to measure? Not sure I'm saying that right.

If I were you, I'd mention the pain when seeing my doc - if just to see if s/he has more info to share. I tend to give them a list of all the little bits just in case they are significant ... or they can do something to help or explain. And I'd want something like that in my records in case of another cath so perhaps they can do more pain prevention.

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