Arrhythmia

Friday, May 28, 2010 0 Comments A+ a-

When I look back at clinical notes, an arrhythmia has been noted for quite some time.  Always mild and never a cause for concern.  A certain percentage of the "normal" population have an arrhythmia.  It doesn't cause an issue.  A lot of people don't even know they have it.

I don't usually notice my funky beats unless I'm stressed or concentrating on my heart rhythm.

When the increase became more pronounced, a little over a year ago, we decided that I would see the cardiologist every 6 months, versus every 12 months, just for monitoring.

I have a large number of PVCs.  Premature Ventricular Contractions.  Essentially, in between my normal heart rhythm, my heart beats extra times.  On average, the human heart beats roughly 115,000 times in 24 hours.  According to one set of test results, I have 28,000 PVCs in a 24 hour period.    No wonder I'm always tired!  LOL! 

The normal cardiologist consulted another "extra special" heart guy who ran some tests and noted that the electrical flow in my heart is disrupted.  It looked like some scar tissue on my heart was causing the normal elctrical flow to take different paths, causing the PVCs.  He noted that I "likely have some degree of Scleroderma heart disease.... but due to the rarity of the condition, there is very little data about the best evaluation and treatment ...."

Well, THAT'S comforting (yes, note the sarcasm).  Now I was starting to get a little freaked out.  Trying not to, but honestly, I was.


The new specialist decided that we need to do an electrophysiology study.  The plan was to sedate me, and insert some catheters into my lower right groin, feed them up through to my heart to where the issues were going on.  Then they would run some internal conduction tests, maybe even give it a shock or two while they were in there to see if we needed to make future plans to do anything "more invasive," like install a pacemaker or defibrillator.  

He also noted, that if necessary "given her extremely thin body habitus and skin changes, implantation of a pacemaker or defibrillator will not be a straight forward matter in her."  He's right.  I am just skin and bones ... where the heck would they put that thing?  Would I look like Iron Man with such a device in my chest?  Can I get one that glows like that?  That would make it more fun.

Ok, all joking aside, NOW I was super duper comforted.   (Tons of sarcasm, here)  So, we were sticking some things in my heart, running some tests and maybe later, we get to a put a device in there?  This is my heart we're talking about.  It's what keeps me going, now we're going to stick things in it?  Electrical things?

All of the other stuff I've been through didn't freak me out nearly as much as the prospect of this procedure. 

Recently any procedure involving an IV had become a fear for me.  Usually the intake nurses, bless their hearts, can't get an IV into my arm to save my life.  It becomes a nightmare, they end up sticking me a ton of times, sometimes having to resort to trying in my neck.  By the time they get an IV in me, I'm in tears, pain, and ready to skip whatever procedure I'm in for and the hubby is ready to kill someone because he can't stand seeing me be stuck anymore. 

Now, heap the fear of heart stuff on top of that and just imagine how much fun I was!  Woohoo!  I think by the time the procedure rolled around, hubby might have been ready to kill ME!  I was freaked.  I was annoying, I'm sure.  I actually considered canceling the procedure.

Fortunately, I didn't.  The intake nurse was AWESOME.  She was a sweet lady.  She stuck me on the first try.  I wanted to keep her for our very own.  The procedure went smoothly.  They decided that we don't need to implant a device and that we can continue to just monitor the heart stuff.  I can continue with my normal activities.  Just listen to my body and should I notice anything out of the ordinary, call the doc immediately.

Well, THAT, I can deal with!  One more "crisis" averted!