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I haven't posted here in a long time, but have a topic that I thought might help others who have had bypass surgery. It's a scary tale, and in no way I want to discourage others from having the procedure but thought I'd give a heads up to know if the surgery is failing.

 

I have had eight stents, several heart attacks, a pacemaker, and in 2011 two new blockages appeared. The blockage in the Lad was only 70% but the one in the RCA was 80% and I was very symptomatic. My Cardiologist tried to put a stent in the LAD, but the blockage was in the Ostial position, e.g., at the wye of the 1st Diagonal, which is risky, and the blockage in the RCA was in the same position and the back and bottom of my heart was starved. Because of all the stents ahead of the blockages, it was impossible to access these troubled areas. That said, I was told bypass surgery was risky because of the condition of my arteries, but also because they were considered 'tortorous', or very twisted. However, I was experiencing daily angina, and opted for the surgery.

 

The surgery went well. I have been a longtime volunteer in the heart intensive care wing of our hospital, and knew the nurses very well. I was also the chairman of a new peer to peer national program of support to patients and families who have heart issues, so worked with the cardiologists. I had, frankly, outstanding care and follow up. I felt wonderful afterwards, had amazing energy... for about 1 1/2 years. about six months ago, I started feeling winded when exercising, and when walking with my nurse pals to meetings, they commented I seemed labored. I also started to have some chest pains which I ignored, and noted that I was coughing a lot at night when I laid down. I assured them I just fine, but finally the nurse manager of the floor confronted me and forced me to call my doctor. One thing led to another, I had a stress test, then an angiogram, and it was confirmed, by bypasses were completely plugged. My family and I were shocked and quite upset. My cholesterol levels are perfect, but I've had trouble controlling my diabetes, and the blockages aren't hard plaque, they are largely blood clots.

 

It is felt I may not survive a second bypass, and since the first one failed it seemed silly to try another one. Stents are a possible last resort, but it is considered very, very high risk, so that left drugs. I was starting to experience my lungs filling with water, which is more frightening than I can express in words. Drugs have worked to get rid of the water, but I'm in stage three/four heart failure. I'm tested with the BNP test weekly, it is generally between 2000-2500, and anything over 900 is considered acute.

 

Had I acted by seeing my doctor when I noticed breathlessness and chest discomfort, I chose to stick my head in the sand, and eliminated the possibility to have my bypasses stented and start effective drug therapy. I urge anyone with any kind of heart problem to notify their doctor with any change. Let my poor judgment be your guide.

 

I'm struggling, but slowly improving as the drugs work to drain my lungs. I'm taking gorilla doses of Lasix and Spiro...? plus beta blockers, blood thinners, and more. Also, I've totally eliminated added salt, salted meat, any processed foods. I eat at restaurants that don't salt the food, and also stay away from salt substitutes as they contain huge amounts of potassium. Potassium is need for heart health, but too much potassium is more harmful.

 

Heart bypass helps 90% of people with blockages. I was high risk, and knew it going in for the procedure. That said, I ignored some obvious red flags, and had I manned up and admitted issues, the blockages could have been fixed. Nuts.

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

A positive follow up to my post, hoping it helps someone...

 

I had the high risk procedure, a new twist to the existing stenting norm. Much larger probes, terminal equipment to remove clots and deliver stents with a very large entry port was employed. Not only was it possible to deliver three new stents in two arteries, but my RCA was relocated/straightened to prevent perculation of the blood, decreasing the chance of blood clots. It is an amazing procedure, and I'm fortunate that the recently approved procedure was available.

 

I now wear eleven stents, have a pacer, a failed bypass procedure, so feel like I've earned my stripes as a heart attack survivor. That said, I'm still in stage 3 heart failure, and have problems with fluid in my lungs, am breathless, etc. A year ago I walked a 1/2 marathon, today I have trouble making it to the mailbox 150 yards away. I'm in heart rehab, just starting again, and it is thought I can with hard work gain back about 1/2 of my former abilities. Salt is my new enemy, I'm taking a 101 class in salt education. My goals are simple, I want to be able to lay down to sleep, keep fluid out of my lungs, belly and legs, and go forward from there.

 

By lack of response I suspect I'm persona non gratis on this site, but hopefully my post can help someone who felt as hopeless as I felt. Never give up is my suggestion, a new procedure may be just around the corner.

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I'm glad to hear the procedure was successfully done. If seems like you are doing everything right about the diet and I could add a few suggestions if you haven't already done so. First would be to go gluten free as that contributes to inflamation. The body does not need carbs to function but animal fats are needed to be able to use some vitamins. It doesn't take much fat though so you don't have to chomp down bacon every morning. There are also some vegetables that can contribute to inflamation such as potatoes, tomatoes and rice. We have gone totally grain free and more towards Paleo the past couple years and have seen the positive results from this. Of course your doctor will tell you that you need to have carbs in your diet as they believe the FDA. The FDA was started as a means to promote the wheat and dairy industry and not to promote health for US citizens.

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It is good to hear that your procedure went well

I wish you all the best

And you are certainly not a persona non grata

on this site.

Keep good

 

 

Kalip

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Thank you, gschmitt and Kalip.

I was tested for gluten intolerance and it came back negative, but of course being diabetic I eat little bread, and know the Paleo diet well. A grandchild is an exercise/nutritionist, my sister in law is a naturopath, and over the last 15 years I've educated myself regarding diet. I was able to control my diabetes and cholesterol levels very well with diet and exercise for years. My ldl's were below 75, my hdl's were consistently over 55, and my AC1 was 5.4. HOWEVER, after my bypasses plugged and I couldn't exercise, meds couldn't keep up with the increase in my cholesterol and AC1, both increased 35%. Now that the heart has more blood after the new procedure, I'm encouraged to exercise, but controlled. My EF is very low, so I have a ways to go. I do believe exercise is extremely important to control heart disease, the fact that when I was so ill and couldn't exercise led to high cholesterol and diabetes numbers. I'm in a 5 day cardiac rehab program.

 

I'm not a believer that the government conspires to make us unhealthy, but agree that lobbying probably contributes to diet problems. Just look what the Tea Party was able to do to almost bring down our government process, that is proof that special interests have a huge role in influencing government involvement in places they shouldn't go.

 

I was deeply involved with several cardiologists and rehab nurses for the last couple of years as we established a Mended Hearts, Inc. chapter at our hospital. It is a peer to peer support group, designed to support heart patients and especially the families of heart patients. Google it, it is a wonderful organization. I had to resign as chairman when I got ill, but after talking with hundreds of families, I think there core cardiac values. Smoking is of course a huge cause of heart disease. So is obesity, diabetes and eating a lot of fat, stress, family hx, Regarding vein failure in bypass procedures, there a lot of reasons that they fail. Using the salt shaker or eating salt-cured meat and fish is simply a killer. In my case, I knew it was high risk because of the location the veins could be attached, and given that 10% of veins fail per year after bypass, not all veins work very well.

 

Thank you, Kalip, for your kind comments. Fly

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