Results of my Lexiscan Stress Test. (rturri)

Finally, comes the end of the matter. The stress test is over and done with. The test itself was simple and, for many people, it is an easy one. I had the test on Nov 11, 2010 - my birthday.

There were two cardiologists there - my own (at my insistence) and a resident. The nurses were very friendly and very good at what they were doing.
First thing was to put the IV port in my arm. Wel-l-l-l-l... she was new and so nice that I didn't want to complain, but I think she may have pierced the vein in my left elblow, all the way through! Could happen to anyone, right? And so what? She was cute! (What a sucker I am for "cute".)
After that "port" was in, there were no more needle worries.

Next, another nurse hooked me up to the ECG machine. (Hair on the chest can be a problem for the sticky pads that hold the wire leads. Look out, guys... some of those hospital people go wild with a razor! My nurse was kind, though, and left me mostly intact. Afterward, I didn't look like I had walked into a fan.

Then came the heart-stress drug, Lexiscan.
http://www.lexiscan.com/

I was told that I might feel some side effects like headache, "queezy" stomach, etc. I did feel something like a very mild headache, but that's all. It went away in 2-3 minutes as they said it would. The stress test involved lying there while the Dr's watched the ECG machine and they told me that it looked good.
After about 5 minutes the leads were removed and it was time to go to the imaging room for an MRI-like scan of my heart. It is actually an MPI scan.
But, before I left for the imaging room, I felt a strange numbness travel down both arms and a sharp pain in the middle of my chest, which I recognized as "angina". Then, my chest felt like it was being pressed inward from the left and the right, as if to crush it in the middle.
That really hurt. My breathing became quite deep, like I couldn't get enough air. I, of course, thought that I was having a heart attack. The doctors were called immediately and they came in and restarted the ECG machine. My Dr told me that the reading had changed.
They stayed for about 15 minutes because that's how long I felt miserable and it took that much time for the ECG to return to "normal".
The Dr's conclusion was that I had REACTED to the Lexiscan itself, and that there was no further need for concern.

Then, after a 30 minute wait, I went back to the imaging room for a second scan. After that I was ready to return home.
Each scan took exactly 15 minutes and the whole deal lasted from 7:00am to 9:30am. The hardest thing about the scans was not falling asleep.

THE ANOMALY

On Nov 24, I had a follow-up appt with the doctor. He said that other patients have had the same reaction to the drug that I had. Each one thought that he or she was having a heart attack. So did I. I still do. The doctor says no, though. And he isn't cute.
Five or six years ago, I apparently did have a heart attack while mowing the lawn. It was much worse than what I described above and lasted more than half an hour. My wife thought it was a gall bladder problem and since it resolved itself, we did nothing further.
At the time of my cardiac arrest, 2 1/2 years ago, the Cath-Lab results "showed" that at some time in the past, I had a "small heart attack" that was focused in my left circumflex artery, which appeared to be almost completely blocked with signs of tissue damage in that area.

Well, back to my follow-up appt. The doctor told me that the scan had showed a heart anomaly that is fairly rare, and occurs at birth. To sum it up, I DON'T HAVE A CIRCUMFLEX ARTERY! Normally, this artery branches off of the left coronary artery in front of the heart, and snakes it way around to the back of the heart. There, it mostly delivers oxygen to the rear of the left ventricle.

Well, in my case, that artery originates in the upper rear of my heart, "somewhere". It would require invasive procedures to find out exactly where. From what I understand, that artery, being behind the heart, is subjected to pressure from the major vessels, to or from the heart, and maybe from the rear of the chest, itself. (I'm 75 lbs overweight, mostly in the gut. That pressure can constrict the artery and reduce the blood flow, resulting in the lack of oxygen to the left ventricle that causes the chest pains.

Putting in a stent probably won't help much and it would be a difficult and risky procedure. So, drug treatment is the best choice for now.
The drug is the same nitro-glycerine that is commonly prescribed for patients with chest pain, known as angina. However, it's a fairly hefty dose and comes in the form of a 24 hour timed-release pill, that is swallowed. I've taken the pill four times so far and I've noticed a slight headache that occurs every couple of hours but goes away in just minutes. During the first few days it was worse but now is hardly noticeable.
Good thing: I have noticed that sudden exertion, such as climbing stairs or leaning over to pick up things, no longer results in the chest pain nor the heavy breathing. So, I'm happy about that. Now, I have to lose about 70 pounds and maybe there won't be any more heart trouble.
I've told my Son to have his heart looked at (with that same scan, but without the stress drug) and it may be that my older Brother, and my Father, may have had the same displaced artery.

That's it. I don't believe that anyone should avoid the "Lexican Stress Test" because of anything I've said. I will do it again if there's a reason for it, but I'm very wary of that stress drug.

And without objection... "case closed"!

I hope that the telling of my experience will be of some help to others.
Many thanks to each of you who have have replied to my post. Other matters have competed, along with Thanksgiving to take up my time, so I have been slow to respond. For that, I'm sorry. I am responding to everyone.

Thank you,
Bob

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13 replies. Join the discussion

Yay!!!! I'm glad they found the problem and I was wrong about anxiety! Which I'm sure you had, having these problems anyway. But, I'm glad you are feeling better :)

That cracks me up about the nurse who administered your IV. I wasn't a nurse at the time I worked for the cardiologists but I administered all the IV's as a medical assistant. I'm actually very good with needles, as I've been told. I had this one guy who came in all the time that was so nervous about the stress test. I took one look at his buldging veins and thought..NO PROBLEM! Well, his veins rolled and I retracted the the catheter a little only for it to pop up about 2 inches under his skin and like an idiot, I gasped! He saw it and immediately passed out on me. I had no idea what to do as this has never happend before so I screamed for the nurse who put his chair back and immediately took his vitals. Well, my story isn't over...the next day I had another male (it's a fact that mostly males pass out from needles) who the IV went ok but he still passed out anyway...this time I knew what to do but of course had to call in the nurse to tell her..another guy just passed out on me. AND, one more story...in nursing school I had a "male" about 6'5" 300lb solid guy who I was taking his IV out, I got the tape half way undone when he turned green on me and his eyes started rolling in his head, I somehow got him to the bathroom where he vomitted and was sweating like I've never seen before and had to hold him up (I'm 5'4") until help arrived to help me sit him down. Sooooo...in conclusion to my stories!! I don't think she peirced your elbow, I think you are a man!!! LOL!

Anyway, Glad you are now for those tests!! and it went well and they found problems they can fix. It must feel a bit of a relief :)

Stacey :)

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Bob,

I am so glad this is over for you and that they were able to find your individual and rare heart problem. You always knew you were different and this proves it. :-)) I do hope you son takes heed of your concerns and monitors his own heart.

Needles and I are not friends. The last time I had blood work done, it was for a clinical trial at a local research lab, almost 6 years ago. The little gal who came in to take my blood put the needle in well above my elbow. I knew she would never get blood there. The next girl didn't do any better. Both had ignored my instructions on the best way to get blood from me. I was glad when the intake worker came in and told me the doctor didn't believe I fit their criteria for the study.

Thanks for sharing your insight on your test. Your story can enlighten others on what may happen during this test.

Pam

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Stacey, great stories!!!
Bob, I'm glad you are done with that. I know you were very anxious.
Mary :-)

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Hi Bob
So glad you have found the answers to your "challenge"!!
Geez maybe we need to install some PVC piping to route your blood to the right places...plumbing 101!!
I know just how you feel about losing the excess weight...I gotta lose 80 lbs myself. Maybe we should keep tabs on one another for support??!!
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!

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Hi Stacey
I know EXACTLY what you go through with the guys. I do regular bloodwork on patients and I am always amazed by how little men can tolerate. Some of these guys have tatoos over a large part of their bodies but go green with one little needle in the arm!! You couldn't pay me to have a tatoo...I am not crazy about self-inflicted pain thanks.
And the kicker for me is the male doctors (the same ones who order scads of bloodwork for other people!) who faint on me!! What the heck is THAT all about?? Actually it's pretty funny!

Good thing women give birth or the human race would have died out centuries before:-}

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Well, my Canadian friend...

Wow. That hurt! Before I jump into the uprising that you have started, and flail away at those uppity comments, I'd like to say that I think a weight challenge is a good idea, appropriate for a heart-health forum, and a genuine turn-on! Let's go for it. Others welcome, too? How about a pile-up?
I'm 260 this morning - way too much. I have to get down to 185. (I doubt it's possible, but I'll bare all and "give it a go". :o)

And, yes... I had the best Thanksgiving in a long, long time. The in-laws got along, my Son didn't scold me at the table for eating too much (I really didn't), and I got to hold not only a turkey, but a new Grandson, too!
Now, let's lose the blubber. OK?

It's on, Girl!
Fat Boy Bob

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Stacey,

Thanks for staying with me through this ordeal. I couldn't have made it without you! Really.

Uhhh... you seem to have a slight misperception about the thinking of a man. A man isn't "scared". His aversion to needles, and such, is actually a protective QUALITY that keeps women safe on earth - to keep our civilization going! Just think of what has happened to the many men who have lost their fear of needles. Look in the alleys, riverbanks, and abandoned houses. They have, and will continue, to die there - bruised and scarred - having, at last, fallen in love with the needles they once hated. Have compassion for us, Stacey - the strong, the proud, and the fearful!
Be careful, too, of those ferrel cats who would weaken your respect for the Male. Forgive them, though, for they know not what they do.
As for your pal, Dinah, I fear reacting to her comments. I know that she NEVER backs down from anyone or anything, and I could really be in for it, if I try to correct her. So, tune in for Round 1.

Bob

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Dinah,

My dear friend, it is with heavy heart that I must shake my finger at you, this day. I know you to be wise in many ways, but LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING about a
Natural Born Man!

He is a Stalwart, a Fortress and a Strong Tower! A protector in times of trouble. His Apollo-like countenance is proof of his courage, ability and resoluteness.

His body is a Castle. A Temple. A Great City. An Abrahamic vessel containing the seeds of a Nation, the backbone of a Civilization, and the Keys to a Kingdom.

He knows his Noble Duty - to serve and protect. He is a sentry standing at the door of the house. He knows of the evil that lurks outside. He perceives the deceitfulness of Weakness, the cunning of Innocense, and discerns Evil when it masquerades as Beauty.

Beware the Woman who approaches, soft in voice and soothing in tone. Just so, she distracts a man with her eyes of Jezebel while she hides, behind her curved and alluring bustle, that short, thin, gleaming NEEDLE OF DEATH!

The Natural Born Man can NOT ALLOW HIS BOUNDRIES TO BE BREACHED! All inside must remain safe.

But I am talking about the Natural Born Man. Many there are who leave the path but retain, within, the Glory of the past. Wealthy is the Natural Born Man whose Woman does not let him turn away from his birthright.

Dearest Dinah. Think on these things and guide the young Women in the way of Honor and Respect. Go now, and admire your Man.

----------------------------

Top that, Waterloo!
Natural Born Bob

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Honey face it not all men are created equal! The old adage of "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" has been, in my experience, oh so true. Can't tell you how many big, tough construction worker types get all sweaty and clammey at the thought of an itsy,bitsy little needle. Actually had a few pass out in the chair and let me tell you it's getting harder and harder to stick my knee in their chest to keep them upright...lol lol lol!!
My Mom always said "if you are going to pass out do it quietly and out of my way". Oh by the way she was a nurse too!
I am a very empathic individual and I do make an honest effort to make the process as painless as possible. I have even been known to lull small children to sleep while I do the "deed".
So don't get your knickers in a twist I am just having a giggle!!

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OMG I am still laughing over this one!! Temple my hiney!! Stong tower?? More like leaning tower of Pisa! :-} :-} Fortress?? So was the Alamo!!!!!

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bob hey I am so happy to hear your sress test came out pretty well and at least they found your problrm. I am so glad I came on this site today as I am laughing my ass off.....LOL.Wow I dont know where you got your education, but you come up with the most interesting quotes.I guess it sounds like you need to laugh your ass off to or would that be your belly??? LOL. God bless and congratulations on your new grandbaby, take care, Pipey.

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Hi Bob,

The experience could have been much worse, you could have had my daughter Stacey as your nurse. I'm happy that it's over for you and just hang in there, you might have a serious problem but new procedures and cures are bound to become available in the near future. Try taking vitamin D for weight loss, (2000 mgs a day) I lost almost 20 pounds in 7 months. Everyone is telling me it's from stress but I believe it's the vitamin D. Vitamin D is supposed to get rid of belly fat, how good is that. Take care and God Bless. Valerie

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Needles shmeedles Bob! I don't know exactly what the statistics say but I think it's about 1000 men to one woman that passes out! LOL Dinahj..I'm with you!! You are too funny :) Careful Mom while you are sleeping...lol! kidding!

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