A New Condition

I went to the cardiologist’s today. It was mainly a follow-up from the time when, a couple months ago, when I was feeling awful and couldn’t even take a few steps (unless the ground was flat) before feeling short of breath and nearly passing out. I had an echo done then and everything looked fine. I have been thinking the medication I’m on may be contributing. It’s designed to make the heart pump with less vigor. I’m taking it as a precaution, though, to keep my heart from pumping out of control and erratically…. which may or may not happen. It’s basically helping me keep an even rhythm. And yes, it theoretically could be contributing.

But my most recent EKG is showing a new problem; one that’s started since (and most likely DUE to) the surgery I had in January.

I now have what’s known as a Left Bundle Branch Block (LBBB).  As I understand it, this means the electric pulses which flow down to the left and right ventricles, causing them to beat in sync, were damaged on the left side during surgery (which, by the way, was quite successful in what it was intended to do; reduce the gradient, allowing the outflow to become normal). I’m given the impression that this is common after the surgery because the tissue they have to take out is right where the electricity flows down through. So, now, my right ventricle pumps and the left one pumps just a wee bit behind it. This could be contributing slightly, perhaps fully, to my recent inability to move without feeling short of breath (which has subsided somewhat, as of 2 weeks ago).

The next step is to get an electrophysiologic study, which is kind of like a heart catheterization, but much less risky, severe, and less difficult to perform. They will be testing to see how the right side is doing and determine if I’m at risk of ventricular arrhythmia (i.e. an irregular heartbeat). If the test is clean, we can sit back and even try getting me off the medication I’m on now. But if the test shows that I am susceptible to a wacky rhythm, then I will be urged to have an ICD put in. (i.e. A pacemaker)

I’ll probably be scheduling the test sometime in September. It shouldn’t be a big deal. I’ll be able to go into work by the next day and everything.  I was seriously thinking this pacemaker/ICD talk wouldn’t happen for at least a few years after the goddamned surgery.  But I suppose I’m not that lucky.

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