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Cardiac Catheterization Test


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#1 kris

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 01:25 PM

Hello! I'm a 42 year-old female diagnosed with systemic sclerosis in 1996. I'm signed up for a study on P.H. and am going in for the right heart cardiac catheterization test. I'm a little nervous about this. Can anyone who's had this done fill me in on how the test went for you and any other details that maybe the doctors left out?

Thanks a lot! This is my first post, I hope its okay!

Kris :D

#2 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 02:42 PM

Hi Kris,

Welcome to the Forum!

The RH catheterization sounds an awful lot scarier than it really is, at least in my experience. It doesn't hurt, except for a little needle jab at the beginning when they numb the spot where they'll insert the catheter. Mostly it's kind of uncomfortable lying on your back and then there is the dreaded ice-cold catheter lab - not so awful much fun when you have Raynaud's. Don't hesitate to tell them if you do and ask for a nice warm blanket or two (how is it they worry about the machines getting too warm and we're turning into ice lollies?). They'll give you a list of medications you might need to stop beforehand and it's important you do that. Hmmm, what else can I tell you? Oh yeah, it's a great excuse to be taken out for dinner afterwards! :P

I hope you'll post often and let us get to know you. You've been "lurking" out there for awhile - time to make some new friends here at the International Scleroderma Network. We're friendly, understanding, and most of us have developed a pretty funny attitude towards our shared adventures with scleroderma.

Warm hugs,
Jeannie McClelland
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#3 janey

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 02:58 PM

Kris,
Welcome to the Sclero Forums! I'm glad that you have joined us. I'm sure your experiences in dealing with scleroderma will help others, so please don't hesitate to share them. Like Jeannie said, the Right heart catheterization (RHC) is so bad. Here's a link from drugs.com that explains the quite well.

Right Heart Catheterization
Of course, most procedure aren't near as bad as they my sound when you read about them. The RHC is one of them.

As Jeannie said - for your personal comfort, please let them know if you are sensitive to cold. I wore gloves and socks, and the nurses made sure to keep me covered with a blanket as much as possible. Afterwards, you get a nice rest because you have to lie still for a few hours while the insertion point heals.

It is a procedure that is performed A LOT, so they got the procedure down pat and have seemed to make it easy and comfortable for the patient. Things will be just fine.

By the way, thanks for signing up for a study on PH! That's a brave and generous thing.
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#4 miocean

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 05:33 PM

There is a previous thread on heart catherization that will be helpful to you.

In it are experiences of others and questions to ask your doctor. I've had two and was scared to death for the first but the only bad part about it was it was a very long day. I may need another one in January, making it 3 in 3 years so I am hoping not to. However, it is really the only definitive test for PH.

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#5 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 09:48 AM

Hi Kris,

I'm just stopping by to welcome you to Sclero Forums. I'm delighted that you joined and drummed up the courage to post, too. Now hopefully you can also encourage and welcome others as they take the leap into posting on the forums.

A heart catheterization certainly sounds scary, but it's actually quite easy and painless. Please just don't spread the message on that, or you won't get enough Sclero Sympathy points from friends and family!

We have a deal in our house, that whoever has to see the doctor gets the pick of restaurant or activity afterward for their treat. It gives us something positive to focus on, in the middle of the tests/appointments. Plus, for most tests they starve you nearly to death beforehand, so looking forward to a meal out is handy in more ways than one.

I was tickled pink to score my choice of a restaurant for breakfast today, thanks to this policy, plus I also put dibbies on a naptime (as long as I wanted, up to six hours) after that. It doesn't have to be anything terribly fancy, certainly not expensive on the budgets most of us have after our medical expenses are considered. But it feels so luxurious and adds an element of fun to the whole unavoidable event.

So my tip for the heart cath is to wring more enjoyment out of it by pre-planning a meal in the restaurant of your choice afterwards. Because you'll surely be very hungry by then!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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#6 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:13 AM

Hello Kris

Welcome to the forums! I've has a left and right heart catheterisation and it really was no big deal. The worst bit was the waiting because you can't eat/drink after a certain time and the longer you wait for the procedure the more hungry you get!

You feel the needle when they anesthetise the area and you can feel a pushing sensation and a weird feeling in the chest but nothing is painful. If you have problems with Raynaud's keeping warm will probably be your main concern with the procedure.

Oh yes afterwards you have to lie flat for a few hours and then you can sit up but not stand for a few hours so it can be a bit boring too.

Let us know how you get on and you'll soon be encouraging others about to have this procedure.

Take care.
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#7 kris

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:31 PM

Thanks to everyone who replied to my post on the Right Heart Catheterization (RHC) procedure. Words can't express how grateful I am to have you all to set my mind at ease. I'm so glad that I posted and I hope I can help others also. I've been through a lot over the years, but am functioning on a pretty stable basis these days, mostly dealing with lung issues, but also all of the other nuisance problems that go along with scleroderma. I would definitely like to say that I have developed a very interesting sense of humor related to my life, so I'm hoping for similar input also. I'm so glad I found this connection to everyone! Oh and Shelley, believe me I will reward myself and learned that its an absolute necessity.
:emoticon-hug:

#8 Sweet

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 03:17 PM

Hi Kris!

Welcome! I'm so glad you've joined us. I haven't had the Heart cath yet, so can't share about that, but I'll sure be anxious to hear how it all turns out.

Again, welcome! :flowers:
Warm and gentle hugs,

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#9 Joelf

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 02:39 AM

Hi Kris

Welcome to this friendly and helpful forum. :bye:

Sorry to hear you've been through the mill over the past few years, but I'm glad that things seem to have settled down a bit now.

Thankfully I haven't got PH so I can't advise you on the heart catheterisation, but I do have lung fibrosis so can sympathise with you on that score!

Like you I also have a reasonable sense of humour, if a little on the dry side!! ;)

I'm looking forward to hearing how you got on with your heart cath. :)

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#10 debonair susie

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 03:10 AM

Hi Kris!

I would like to (first) take this opportunity to welcome you as well as congratulate you on your joining our Sclero Family, as well as posting! Here, you will find folks who,, as you have already found, from the following posts...folks who HAVE experienced or will be able to offer great support, to help all feel less isolated, as well as more at ease...about upcoming procedures, issues, etc.

I have also had a RHC and the ladies have come through with what you will experience, through the procedure...with flying colors!
Like you, I was very uneasy about having to undergo the RHC. However, any procedure I've ever had, it seems they're always alot less difficult than what I ever imagine!

Please let us know how you are doing?
Special Hugs,

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#11 Annie20

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:44 AM

Hi Kris,

Welcome to this fabulous forum. :)

I apologize for not posting sooner.

I had a right heart catherization (RHC) too, but my situation was different than others who have posted. I had congestive heart failure so as the result of the heart failure, had every test and procedure under the sun including the RHC. My doctors didn't want to do the RHC procedure until I was a little bit stronger. Unfortunately, I cannot help you much, but I am here to support you as best as I can. The only thing I remember is the cath lab being extremely cold. I was given general anesthesia throughout the procedure.

I too can relate as I have fibrosis in the lungs.

Please let us know how you're doing.

Take care :bye:

Annie
Diffuse Systemic Sclerosis, (Scleroderma). Lung, skin and gastrointestinal involvement.

#12 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:23 AM

Hello Annie

I have heart failure too! Mine is as a result of myocardial fibrosis and left ventricular bundle branch block, both caused by my friend and yours...scleroderma. I got to stage 3 heart failure, where are you at? I've recently had a pacemaker put in and so far so good.

Take care.
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#13 Annie20

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 03:46 PM

Hi Amanda,

I'm so happy you're doing good.

According to my physicians including my rheumatologist. who is a research scientist in sclero finds it peculiar why I had congestive heart failure. My heart is/was healthy and had no signs of pulmonary hypertension prior to the chf. Speculation according to my doctors and husband - given way too many fluids causing congestive heart failure. I was very sick a couple days prior to having congestive heart failure, symptoms were extreme weakness & loss of appetite. And when my husband took me into the E.R., the hospitalist' were given direct orders by the attending physician who was on call thought I had pneumonia which my husband knew I did not, gave me the excess fluids.

When I became strong enough to have a RHC it showed my heart had made a full recovery. No damage! Thank goodness!

Take care!

Annie
Diffuse Systemic Sclerosis, (Scleroderma). Lung, skin and gastrointestinal involvement.

#14 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 05:12 AM

Hello Annie

You're heart made a full recovery...that's amazing! Particularly if the problem resulted from a mistake. Incredible how the body can repair itself.

Take care.
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#15 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:29 AM

Kris, when will you have your right heart catheterization (RHC)? Let us know how it all goes, will you?
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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#16 kris

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:57 PM

Hi Shelley! Thanks for caring! I'm having the right heart catheterization (RHC) a week from today on 11-12. I'm a lot more confident now that I've gotten lots of positive replies. I will be sure and keep you updated on how it goes. :thank-you:

#17 Sheryl

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 07:34 AM

Kris, welcome to ISN forums. Your forum for as long as you wish to be a part of all it can provide for you. Please let us know how your (RHC) goes. Everyone experiences things differently. While it is fresh in your mind tell us what you remember and if your doctor's did indeed explain things to your liking. I am looking forward to learning more about your life with Scleroderma. Thank you for joining in.
Strength and Warmth,
Sheryl

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