Tag Archives: echocardiogram

Echocardiogram Images 

I thought it would be cool to share my final echocardiogram results from my recent hospital stay. I took some video of the echo screen. My cardiologist points out the clot, which is small enough here to allow me to be discharged.

Also, notice my mechanical aortic valve shape. My doctor points to it in the 2nd video. It is near the middle of the screen. It is a circle, with a straight line that goes from its 12 o’clock to its 6 o’clock. That line will appear and disappear, which are the bi-leaflets closing. Use the picture of a St. Jude’s mechanical valve below to help identify it in the echo. regent-2

 

 

In screen shot below, I have circled the clot.  It appears as a little white smudge. It was larger when it was first detected last Friday. Try to look for that little smudge in the videos above.

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Two Year Anniversary

I would like to share my recent milestone and the emotions that went along with it.

March 15th 2016 marks my two year anniversary of my last open heart surgery (aortic valve replacement emergency re-do due to endocarditis). I had my yearly echocardiogram scheduled yesterday, one day before my anniversary.

Two years ago, I had a traumatic experience during an echocardiogram where the echo tech spilled the beans about the emergency that was occurring inside my chest (which was extremely unprofessional of him, and against code). He told me that my recently implanted prosthetic valve was literally falling off. This led me to a panic until my cardiologist came into the room 20 minutes later.

So you can understand why echo appointments freak me out. I’m feeling great now, in fact I think I’ve never felt better athletically speaking. Despite this, I was still very afraid that I would go in and hear bad news. I almost expect to hear bad news. I know that’s not the most positive thought, but it is the truth. It is fear that guides me to think that way.

And it was that same fear that caused me to keep this echo appointment and my anxiety about it a secret from my friends, girlfriend, and family. I spent most of the weekend with my buddy, and I didn’t bring it up once. But there I was, bottling it up inside, stewing on it, just being afraid; alone in my brain. One of the main reasons I started this blog was so I wouldn’t contain my anxieties, yet I failed to utilize this outlet, which would have been useful during the past 2 weeks.

Yesterday, I went to the echo appointment. The echo tech did my yearly echo last year as well, and we remembered each other enough to pick up where we left off in small talk from last year. The doctor checked the echo results remotely, and told the tech that everything was A-Okay, and that I can be sent on my way for another year.

The relief was astronomical. I didn’t realize how much of a weight this was on me. In the car, on the way home, I completely broke down for a solid 2 minutes. After I finally got a grip, I felt cleansed. Blue sky. Now, I feel energized and ready to make the best out of every day, at least for the next 50 weeks (until my next yearly echo approaches).

Cheers ❤

Anthony

New Doctor, New Recovery

My new job is going well. With my new job came new insurance. So I no longer go to kaiser Permanante. My new insurance allows me to go to Loma Linda Medical Center’s Heart Institute, which has come highly recommended to me. Last week, I met my new cardiologist, Dr. Bansal, who is very experienced and has seen many heart surgery patients in his years. He is also in charge of echocardiograms at Loma Linda. Meeting with him for the first time went well. He looked at my surgical reports, and asked me about my history. Thoroughly. He wrote down almost three pages of notes. I never felt rushed. He instructed me to go in for some blood work and an echo so that he can establish a baseline of heart health for me.

The other day I went in for my echo. The tech did a thorough job. What happened next blew me away. My doctor came in and read the echo right in front of me, and discussed the results! He pointed out features of my prosthetic valve and graft. He showed me the sutures, which looked fine. I’ve never experienced this type of immediate response regarding echos. Normally, the tech does the echo, and you go home and wait over a week to hear from your doctor.  Though I found my way to Loma Linda due to circumstance, I am so happy with he level of care I have received already.

Another piece of good news. A few weeks ago, I talked with Cardiac Surgeon Dr. Larry Creswell of the Athlete’s Heart Blog. He seemed to disagree with my previous cardiologist’s conservative approach to recovery. My previous cardiologist had me on a year of strict physical restrictions. She didn’t even want me to do yoga. I understood the reason to be cautious due to my circumstance, however it turns out that these restrictions were not based on any sort of evidence. Larry did not tell me what to do, since he is not my doctor, however he gave me insight to the variety of professional opinions on the matter. When I asked my new doctor about restrictions (without mentioning my previous doctor), he gave me the normal routine, which is slowly resuming activity after 3 months after surgery. I then mentioned my previous doctor’s cautious restrictions and stressed the fact that I had 2 surgeries, and he said, “Nope, it is the same.”

This does not mean I am going to go hard right away. I will ease into exercise very slowly. Just because I feel that I can do it, doesn’t mean I will this time. I’m thinking that I can slowly work up to (close to) normal strength by 6-8 months post surgery. Also, I plan on doing a more broad exercise plan, involving more yoga and less weight training.

a nice day for a ride.

a nice day for a ride.

How am I’m Feeling? I feel pretty good! I’m less down in the dumps these days. I have to admit that my last surgery took some of the wind out of my sails, but I’m recovering. I took my bike out for a spin yesterday. You can see my workout here. I was able to easily keep my heart rate in an acceptable range. FYI the huge spikes in heart rate that immediately go down are errors due to wind or vibrations effecting the chest strap.

I’ll just keep on goin.