Left arm pressure

Dear Heart Sisters,

This site is the first place I look when I have new symptoms, medication questions and reassurance that my feelings are "normal". Today I am looking for information about a new symptom.

I had an MI 9-23-2006 caused by a blood clot. It was minor with little heart muscle loss and no long term effects. I had my first bout of unstable angina last Tuesday. The pain was HORRIBLE!! I went by ambulance and after reading so many horror stories about doctors who don't listen I feel so blessed. My cardio was in the ER waiting for me and had me in the cath lab within 15 minutes after I arrived. My lab work showed no muscle death. The angio showed 90% blockage in an artery too small to be fixed. I went home the next day. I am waiting for the heart attack that can't be prevented. I have been having a lot of small chest pains, but the new symptom is I feel like there is a band around my upper left arm. It isn't painful, just pressure, like a tight rubber band. Has anyone experienced this??


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Sorry to hear what you have gone through lately. I know how scary it all can be. I had triple bypass 12/30/07 and a heart attack on 1/17/08 caused by a blood clot in one of my new bypasses - they had bypassed my 2 previous stents and then put in a new one after the MI! I am now slowly developing new symptoms and feel like you - I am just waiting for the big one. I have always had left arm involvement when I have blockages. It ranges from feeling like a rubber band around my left shoulder to feeling like my whole arm is about to blow up. So, you are definitely not alone. I know that it's difficult knowing you have a blockage they can't stent, but your body can form collaterals. Did you doctor mention this to you? I am just starting to look into this myself since my family history means I am fighting a losing battle on the plaque formation front. I am hoping to figure out what I need to do to promote these collaterals to start forming and take better control than multiple procedures and meds are giving me. Here is a quote from a Dartmouth article I found online : "Collateral arteries function as “natural bypasses” effectively restoring the blood flow to compromised tissues and play an important physiologic role in promoting survival and protecting tissues from ischemic damage." It is my understanding that cardiac workouts help promote the formation of these collaterals. I am currently doing 3 miles a day on my treadmill with the intention of increasing this weekly.
Don't know if this helps you much, but please know you are not alone. Take care -

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I have been working out daily since my heart attack. I asked the cardio about collateral circulation. He said the
artery has narrowed significantly in the last year and a half since my last angio and he thinks it will completely close before my body has a chance to create new circulation. Thanks for the information about the arm pressure. I had never heard of this arm pressure band. I go back to the cardio in May and I am going to ask about it.

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Hi,your pain likes me.I haven't got MI.But diagnosed ahterosclerosis CAD.5 Angios.No cholesterol,no smoking,no diabet just like you.But ischemic pain pressure,so on.No capacity for upstairs,50 meters walking.I'm waiting MI.

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I too have had "left arm pressure" and it scares the sh*t outta me! It passes and so does my fear but I wish it would not happen!


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sure have experienced this! But--you said you are waiting on the heart attack that can't be affoided, quit waiting and live! take care of yourself, tell the dr. about your arm and ask him/her if your meds are correct for this type of symptom. My arms hurt for over a year and I couldn't understand why, then when I was nearly dead I went to dr. and on to bypass surgery, that was Oct. 9, 2002, now I'm on more meds - collasped with heart failure brought on by stress last month, having back pain and chest hurting as I sit here now, under stress with aged and senile mother. One day at a time, take care of yourself, keep records of your symptoms and find a dr. that will be aggressive in finding out what/where the problem is and getting it fixed and/or on meds to help prevent a heart attack.
Best to you from Blueheart

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Dear Blueheart,

Thanks for your encouragement. I already take 50mg metoprolol 2x daily, 10mg lisinopril 1x daily 81mg apsrin and 40 mg simvastatin. I tried Imdur, but I have a history of migraines and LOW blood pressure (90s over 50s) and the Imdur caused a migraine that lasted two days, I vomited more than 10 times and fell twice when I tried to get out of bed. The dr told me to never take Imdur again. I feel my dr is aggressive, I have had 3 caths in 18 months, a nuclear stress test, which I only lasted on the treadmill 3 min 47 seconds before my heart rate shot to 186, (that is when I had my second cath). Two cardios have seen my images and agree that the arteries are just too small to fix. They both felt with the degree of blockage and the unstable angina that the heart attack will be soon. I was told to rest and take it very easy until I see my dr again in 3 weeks. He said he considered the recovery from a severe unstable angina attack to be the same as that of a mild MI. So I take my meds, let the kids help with the heavy stuff and pray that I won't be in a crowded public place when the artery decides to close!

Thanks, Dawn

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The information provided by this online support network through WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and Inspire is for general informational purposes only. The information is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. If you are ill, or suspect that you are ill, see a doctor immediately. In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease never recommends or endorses any specific physicians, products or treatments for any condition.