Friday, September 16, 2016

Angiogram at Serdang Hospital

Today is Malaysia day. Let us renew our commitment to make our country a better place in whatever capacity that we have.

The day before, I had a hospital appointment for an angiogram procedure in Serdang Hospital. Prior to this, I had already done a CT angiogram in a private hospital that indicated partial blockages in the left and right main arteries (30-40%) and the left anterior descending artery had 75% blockage (see here for explanation). In another earlier appointment at Serdang Hospital, I was told by Dr. Asri that CT angiogram normally overestimate the numbers and to be sure, one should do the normal coronary angiography. This involves insertion of wires through the arteries to the heart. I was told that the procedure had risks of about 1 in 1000 and further insertion of stent will further increase the risk to 1 in 100. We were given the option to consider the procedure and at the time, we just wanted  to be sure.

I must say, a few days before the procedure, I have fears of the thought of putting a wire right to the heart and the fact that it can cause complications. On the day, we left after Fajr from home since we were told to be there by 7.30 am. We dropped our second son at the university before going to the hospital. Despite being early, there were already many cars at the hospital but there were enough empty spots for us to park our car conveneiently.

I was the first to arrive at the angio daily care unit (before it was even open). Was asked to change my clothes to the ones given by the hospital. Was checked for blood pressure and ECG. Was told that the procedure will be done through the artery on my right wrist; if unsuccessful with that, will be done through the leg (which requires shaving between the legs there and then if you have not done them).

By about 10 am , I was ferried into the theatre and met Prof. Fazli who is handling the procedure. The procedure was not as painful as it sounds; the pain is mainly during the needle insertion in my right wrist for local anesthetics, no more painful than the one for IV. As the wire is inserted and I guess with the dye, there is a warm sensation in my right arm and some sense of discomfort. In the beginning, I thought I can feel the wire going to the heart but no such thing. There were a few TV monitors for which real-time images of the heart and arteries are displayed. I can only see them blurly since I was without my glasses. The whole procedure is only about half an hour. They bandaged my right wrist really tight causing some numbing discomfort but it was mainly to stop bleeding of the main artery. I was asked to rest for about two hours before I can be discharged. Update: A site showing images of the coronary arteries.

The results showed that the CT angio did overestimate the blockages. I had only minor diseased main arteries but the left descending arteries did show 30-40% blockages. I was already told by Prof. Fazli that they will not do angioplasty unless it reached the threshold value of 70%. I thanked him a few times for the procedure and the explanations and was in fact relief that it is over. So all I need now is medications and a healthy lifestyle (can't do much about the stress though). Later, my other half told me, if it is in a private hospital, they might have recommended angioplasty even if it is 40%. By 12.40, they opened up the bandage but still applying pressure to the wound. I was asked whether I wanted a week's leave and initially I had declined (thinking of work). They told me that I should avoid any heavy (physical) work including driving. Then I thought I should have the medical leave given that I drive all the way from Seremban to work. Finally after 1 pm, went home to Seremban.

I am now resting, trying not to overwork my arms. Then this morning, I heard the news of a well-known local religious scholar, Ustaz Harun Din had complications from angioplasty procedure in Stanford. Our prayers for him. Update: Just received the news that he had just passed away. Innalillahi wainna ilaihi raji'un. Al-Fatihah.

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