Continued Chest Pain Months After Successful Stent

I am a new member who has found a great deal of comfort from this site already just by reading other's stories and knowing that I am not alone.

I am 44 years old and in May of this year I had a very severe heart attack involving the Left Anterior Descending artery. I was taken from my office by ambulance to a very good local heart hosptial. I received excellent care there.

I had a stent successfully placed into this one vessel, which was 100% blocked by the time I got to the cath lab. The doctor's exact words were "you've blocked off the whole front of your heart".

There were no other blockages, and I have completely changed my lifestyle, stopped smoking immediately, eating very low fat diet, taking all of the medicine prescribed. I am back at work now.

My problem is that I still have the original pain in my arm and chest that I experienced in the weeks before my heart attack. I know now what it means - that my heart is not getting what it needs. I have had 2 follow-up angoigrams - that show my vessel is completely open. I also had a nuclear stress test a month ago that showed the same thing.

Anyone else out there still experiencing pain after a stent? I am on steroids and prilosec now to see if that helps and seeing a gastro next week.

This is real, it's not in my imagination - I'd appreciate any feedback.

Thanks. Newday

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i am also a heart attack survivor I had a stent put into one artery about one year ago i am 47.
none of the doctors would agree with this but i found that zocor was giving me chest pains..I think the statin drugs are very powerful and have side effects that are not well documented I refused zocor andf lipitor and i am doing fairly well now on mevacor which is the oldest and least powerful statin Like me i am sure you are on several drugs, maybe they are contributing to your chest pain. By the way the statins also cause memory problems in some people. I am a professional therapist and i have heard this from several patients and my own cardiologist had to go off lipitor for this reason.

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I can relate to what you're going through. Had my MI, 2 stents in March. Have some intermittent chest pain since. Hospitalized in July, complete work-up, could find nothing wrong. Have been repeatedly assured that nothing is wrong.

I know what I felt was very real. I also know I have been very fortunate and have been receiving excellent follow-up care from both my Primary and Cardiologist. I know it is very scary at this age (I'm 45).

From my experience (I'm new at this too) the most important thing is to have a physician you can feel comfortable going to if you think you are having any issues and will be taken seriously.

I know this whole experience is a life-changing event. This is what it finally took for me to quit smoking and adopt a healthy life style. Keep up the good work!!!

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Lynnd -

Thanks for the response. I never considered that the Lipitor would cause chest pain. I am down to 40 now from 80 at the beginning, so that is definitely something to keep in mind. I appreciat e you taking the time to share your experience with me. Hope all is continue to go well with you. I am glad to know of someone else who is my age who is in the same boat!

newday

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Dear learnedmylesson:

Good screen name, by the way! I feel exactly the same. I never wanted the doctor to look at me and say "I told you so" later on, so I am doing everything I'm told.

Good for you that you have quit smoking. You should be very proud of yourself.

It is nice to know that someone else has had the same experience with being reassured repeatedly that "it's not your heart". Well, that sounds good - but if the sensation is the same, logic dictates to me that the underlying cause is the same. They don't really know much about how to handle angina for women our age - the studies are just now being conducted. I appreciate your feedbck. Hope you continue to feel well. Please know that I am hear to listen.

Newday

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to newday- I have also heard that increasing niaspan can cause chest pain. I also had chest discomfort after my niaspan was increased and my friend who had a heart attack several days before me hadchest pain after his niaspan was increased from 1000 to 1500.(lots of chest pain around here!) Its been a year on 10/2 that I had my heart attack. Did you have a heart attack? How long ago did you get the stent and do you have a medicated stent? lynnd

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I’m 56, but I’ve been living with heart disease since I was 38 and had my first angioplasty (balloon procedure) in 1988. In Feb of 2000 I had a major heart attack due to a blocked stent that failed after 3 weeks (very rare), but I’ve been very lucky to have some of the best internists and cardiologists taking care of me. It took 6 months before I really started to feel better again after my heart attack, but over the next year or so I’d start feeling chest pain, which can really scare you. It took a while, including a trip to the ER and an overnight stay in the cardiac wing, but after a long talk with my cardiologist, who was at the hospital late that night, he finally pegged the problem. Since I have several blockages of 30-40% some of my coronary arteries would go into spasm and cause the chest pain. The simple solution was to put me on a calcium blocker, Norvasc, which stopped the spasms and ended the chest pain, though it took a while and a few dosage adjustments. While this might not be what’s causing your problem, my point is that you must be proactive in your care. Find the best cardiologist you can, find one with the patience and care to listen to you. Keep in mind that the drugs they give us can cause problems as well as help them. It’s been almost 20 years now from that first terrifying day when I found out I had heart disease. But, almost all of those 20 years I’ve been very healthy and barely restricted by heart disease (I am not going to complain that I’m not allowed to shovel snow from the driveway or jump out of an airplane!).

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I am 44 and had right coronary stent placement in January of this year. I went back to the ER at least four times the week after my stent placement. I, too, was experiencing the same pain that I felt prior to my stent placement. Each time they would do a cardiac work up, and each time everything would come back ok. And each time I was told they did not feel this pain was cardiac related. About the fifth or sixth time after I had gone back to the ER, my cardiologist decided to do a follow-up angiogram. When that didn't show any blockages, my cardiologist told me to quit being a "cardiac cripple" and then went on to tell me that the only reason he did the follow-up angiogram was to prove me wrong. Needless to say, I found another cardiologist.

The pain continued, and I kept going back to the ER only to be told over and over and over that this pain wasn't and couldn't be cardiac related. My new cardiologist was in the same group as the first one I had, and almost every time I went to the ER the first cardiologist would be on call and that is who I would have to see. The last straw was when he admitted me to the cardiac unit for "observation" but the only thing he prescribed for my pain was Xanax. I switched cardiologists again. This time to a different group.

And I continued to have the pain. In the beginning the third cardiologist also did not feel my pain was cardiac related. It was only when I started complaining that I was getting left arm pain when I walked on my treadmill that went away when I stopped, that he decided to do what would be my third angiogram. This was in May, five months after receiving my stent and after having five months of continued pain. The angiogram showed that I had restenosis, an overgrowth of scar tissue that was causing reblockage of the stent (70%). Upon my insistance, he referred me to the Mayo Clinic.

In June I had my fourth angiogram at Mayo Clinic. They confirmed that I had restenosis, and they told me they felt that the stent originally placed in January was not the correct size for my artery. They told me it was too small. They basically reopened the stent by stretching it as far as they could, and then placed a second stent over the scar tissue build up. They also diagnosed me with coronary spasms and told me they are not sure I ever needed a stent to begin with. Apparently when an artery is in spasm, during an angiogram it can sometimes look like a blockage. They do not feel I ever had a blocked artery in the first place.

So, the pain I was having was due to spasms. They are real. I get the same pain people describe they are having during a heart attack. I was put on Imdur (a time released nitrate) however, it made me very, very sick. I am now taking Norvasc and wear nitro patches. Norvasc does help, but I still have a lot of chest and left arm pain. I also take Lipitor (Zocor did very strange things to me), aspirin, and plavix.

Newday, take your health into your own hands. What you are feeling is real and there is a reason for it. If I hadn't persisted I would've eventually had a complete blockage from, of all things, scar tissue build up.

I wish you the best of luck. Don't let them make you feel like you are crazy. You aren't. Listen to your body. You know it better than anyone.

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Hi Newday,

I am 37, had a MI last February and had a stent placement in my Right Descending Artery. I also started exercising more, eating a low fat diet and went back to work.

After seeing my doctor for a six month checkup and having him tell me that I was one of his "success" stories, I worked a trade show over the weekend a couple of weeks later and went home only to have chest pains that evening. I had no symptoms prior to this and was concerned, but figured it was muscular from carrying some boxes of brochures.

I called my doctor the next day and was told to get to the ER immediately. I went in and they did all of the usual tests, EKG, blood tests, chest xrays, etc. They were just getting ready to release me after all of the tests came back normal. I was getting dressed to leave when the ER doctor came back into the room telling me that he had just spoken with my cardiologist and that since the chest pains were out of character for me that he was going to keep me overnight and do an angiogram the next morning.

Well, they found another blocked artery next to the original stent that I had in February. It was smaller artery that branched off of the Right Descending Artery. So, I now have two stents. The hospital where I had the procedure had a very good video library that was extremely helpful. The thing that I remember most was that an angio only shows arteries that are at least 80% blocked, but if you have heart disease, chances are that your other arteries may be at least 30 to 40% blocked. It seems to me that if this is true, couldn't one have chest pain from some of the "lesser" blocked arteries?

I am back at work as well, but I am tired and on some new meds. I have also quit smoking this time. Having to have a second stent really scared me. The diet and exercise were easy things for me to control, it was the smoking that was my major vice.

I guess what I'm saying is that I feel lucky that my cardiologist was as attentive as he was and didn't let the ER just send me home. I'm sure I would've had a second heart attack if they had.

I just want to let you know that we are all here for you!

Warmest regards,

Michelle

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In May2006 I had cabgx2 went through 12 weeks rehab.The last 2 weeks of rehab I would come home so exhausted all I could do was go to bed.My last rehab was 9/15/06.On10/05/06 I had an appt with my pcp.I was having pressure and shortness of breathe so she sent me to the ER.On10/06 my cardiologist did a cath and found one of the bypass grafts had clotted at both ends inserted 2 stents.I felt better for a few hours. By the time he did rounds the next morning I felt the same as when I had gone to the ER.He ordered more testing. Endo,Lung function massive blood work.By Weds 10/10 everything came back ok except the endo showed gerd He put me on meds and sent me home.On 10/26 I went back to the ER same symptons.Cath on 10/27 No more blockages.Upped meds sent me home.On11/09 same thing couldn't deal with the shortness of breathe and the pressure.Took 12 antacid tablets in 4 hours no relief.Went to the ER had nitro,GI cocktail, no relief.Of coursee they admitted me for observation Xrays enzymes all good.One of my daughters lives in Cleveland she talked to my husband and They agreed I had to go to the Cleveland Clinic to find out what was wrong.My cardio released me to my family's care to be taken to the clinic.I was not considered an emergency to be transported by squad.He tried to get me a bed at the clinic but was told 48-72 hours.So I was released and driven the 3 hours to the clinic by my daughter.I went through the ER at Cleveland and was admitted on Sat 11/11 on Monday 11/13 cath was done and an artery that was considered no problem in May was at 90% blockagea stent was inserted and it was immediate relief The pressure was gone that quick.That artery wass considered a minor one and probably wouldn't be a problem Therefore when the bypass was done they chose not to do anything with it..However it was causeing me major problems.My home cardio wasn't doing anything because the team of surgeons had determined that it wasn't a problem.However he never doubted I was having a problem he couldn't find.He was in complete agreement to send me to the Cleveland Clinic because they are state of the art in heart care and constantly working on women's hearts studies.In women the smaller vessels tend to cause more trouble than in men.The docs at Cleveland said only a few places if any besides them would have been able to stent where my blockage was .So I wasn't loosing my mind and my family was so sure I wasn't they backed me 100% everytime I went to the ER.And insisted I go to a larger facility with more ability to find the problem. This sight gave me the courage to pursue treatment even after I was told they couldn't find anything else wrong. Only you know how you feel if it doesn't feel right it isn't right and keep going because someone will finally see what it is.

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