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SCVB13's Photo SCVB13 SparkPoints: (5,961)
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2/2/11 7:26 P

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Hi All,
To clarify, I was extremely lucky in that I didn't have a heart attack, I was given nitro and other medications and did not suffer any permanent damage which makes me even luckier than I already am! Ironically, I too had been treated for GERD for a couple of years and my MD said the same thing, that in hindsight it was probably cardiac and he vowes to never miss this again in women!
My type of anomaly is one of the rarest of the already rare coronary artery anomalies and even the cardiologist doing my cath didn't recognize the seriousness of it immediately, I vaguely remember the cath lab nurse (a friend of mine who helped train me in the ICU) say, "what the hell is that artery doing there?"! At first they thought they could treat it with medications but our cardiac surgeon came in to see the cath and about pooped his pants because he realized that anatomically the artery was buried between my aorta and pulmonary artery. You could see with every heart beat that it was being compressed and blood flow was slowing to a trickle. This type of anomaly usually causes sudden cardiac death as a first symptom so it's a miracle I even had chest pain.
I continue to have tons of PVCs and wear a medical necklace with my allergies, history, and contact information should I ever get into trouble when out alone.
I am also speaking at a Cardiac Conference being hosted by my hospital in April to share my experiences as a patient and I hope to educate those who are naive to the dangers in women. I know I opened up a lot of eyes for the physicians and nurses who cared for me!

s/p CABG x 1 (3/25/10)

Live life to the fullest, you never know when you'll be knockin on Heaven's door!


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NADSIT's Photo NADSIT Posts: 18
2/2/11 11:28 A

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I am so glad you were at a hospital when you had your heart attack and that you are doing well and on the mend, true miracle!! I also believe I am a miracle standing. 6 1/2 years ago when I was 41 I started having heartburn, I went to a doctor and I was diagnosed with GERDS and Acid Reflux. I was put on meds an I started to do better, but 6 months later the heartburn got intense and it kept up all day. That night I went to bed and with in 10 minutes I started getting SEVERE chest pains, started sweating and throwing up, I told my husband to call an ambulance.

About 15 minutes later the ambulance came and two emt's walked in ( no bed , no equipment, nothing) I was sitting on my bed with sweat pouring off me and my face was an inch a way from a fan trying to breath. The Emt, said come on lets go to the ambulance, I said i don't think I can..He said come on get your shoes and lets go. Well I did WALK to the ambulance and was taken to the hospital, but everyone thought it was my acid reflux.

I was still having sever chest pains, when finally the doctor said , well some women hide heart attacks so I want to check her for that, within minutes I was swarmed by nurses trying to put IV's in. Well, several hours later I was shipped to a bigger hospital and had a heart cath done, they put two stents in but I had already suffered severe heart damage and my Ejection Fraction was only 25%.

My heart did heal a little bit and my ejection fraction went up to 32% within 6 months from my heart attack but it remains that and now every year I have to have tests done to see if it has went any lower as that could make me have to get a pacemaker defibrillator.

I would love to publicly tell my story to try an educate EMT's, doctors, and everyone that just because you are a women and young don't mean that you can't have a heart attack and professionals need to be more aware of this. I am on disability now and I hate the fact I am so young with such a bad heart but I want to warn other women of the dangers and what to watch for. Heart disease is severe in my family, lost my father at 56 and a brother at 50 from heart attacks, and a sister suffers from some form of high heart rate that makes her pass out. All my brothers and sisters were to be tested for their levels of danger for heart disease. Some got it done some didn't.


PETTIGREW3's Photo PETTIGREW3 SparkPoints: (12,808)
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2/2/11 10:00 A

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It was a blessing that you were at the hospital and ICU (!) when this happen. Every time I hear a story about a woman with a heart condition, it is always unusual of how it happened

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SCVB13's Photo SCVB13 SparkPoints: (5,961)
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2/1/11 11:20 P

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Hello All,
I'm sharing my story because as many of you have shared heart disease in women is often misdiagnosed resulting in devastating consequences. I'm sharing my story because I strongly believe my job as an ICU nurse saved my life but even my "event" was almost missed!

On March 24, 2010 I awoke feeling more tired than I'd ever been in my entire life. I'd just turned 40 11 days prior but felt 90. I had been short of breath for several months with minimal activity (I am a former college volleyball player, triathlete, soccer player). I thought i was just out of shape. I'd also had episodes of chest pain i thought were heartburn off and on for a week or two until that fateful day.

I had to go to work as it was too late to call in sick so I dragged my butt to work. I'm the assistant nurse manager in a very busy ICU in a large Veteran's hospital. At approx. 9:30 am my chest pain started again and, thinking it was heartburn I had a cup of coffee and a pop tart (typical ICU nurse). It progressed for the next hour and a half and I tried ignoring it and going about my job. I was in charge that day and we were completely full with just a code bed open. At 11 am I finally told a co-worker how I was feeling and she checked my pulse and had me go lay down in the code bed while she checked my vitals and did an EKG. Before I knew it I was surrounded by 3 RNs and a couple of our ICU doctors. They were scratching their heads as none of this was making sense, a previously fit, healthy 40 year old nurse having chest pain, nausea, and sweating. One started an IV on me, they gave me an aspirin, a beta blocker, and a nitro tablet. The nitro helped but the pain came back a few minutes later. They did another 12 lead and called our cardiologist (a woman) and she immediately came to see me. I've been friends with her for years and she used to live down the street from me and here I was laying in bed with her holding my hand telling me this was my heart and I needed an angiogram stat!

I was crying and began vomiting and thought I was going to die. I was having short runs of V-tach and PVCs and truly thought it was game over. I was rushed to the cath lab where they found I had an extremely rare coronary artery anomaly (anomalous right coronary artery originating off my left main). Technically I only have one coronary artery feeding my whole heart instead of two! The next thing I know is our surgeon (and another doc whom I've worked with for 15 years) is consenting me for bypass surgery and telling me I'm a miracle and I should have never survived college sports or childbirth with this anomaly!

I was in surgery the next morning for a CABG x 1 and have gone on to make a full recovery although I still suffer from Prinzmetal's angina (coronary vasospasm).

s/p CABG x 1 (3/25/10)

Live life to the fullest, you never know when you'll be knockin on Heaven's door!


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