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Pulmonary Hypertension Suspect - Heart Cath Alternatives?

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#1 pickleslb3



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Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:39 PM

Hi everyone, I am a 20 year old student who has recently been told to get a heart cath to get the blood pressure in my pulmonary artery. I know this procedure is 'the golden standard' but I just frankly want to avoid an invasive procedure, unless absolutely necessary. I have had a few EKG that suggest I may have pulmonary hypertension. I have also had one echo which may have suggested the same thing, and I think it may have shown a slight leak in my tricuspid valve. My cardiologist told me I should get a heart cath for 'peace of mind' and a few weeks after the appt. told me to see a pulmonologist but I failed to obtain a specific reason why. I have also had every blood test under the sun and they all came back clean. I am on atenolol right now but my doctor wants me to switch soon. The part someone here can possibly help me with is any possible alternatives that may help in determining which direction to go and any advice on my situation would be most appreciated.

#2 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 04:18 PM

Hi Pickles, welcome to the Forums. I'd start by asking your cardiologist why he wants you to see the pulmonologist. His reasoning might give you enough information to decide about undergoing a right heart catheterization (RHC).

I know a RHC sounds pretty daunting, but they aren't all that bad, really. There can be so much variance between the readings from an echocardiogram and a RHC that having one done is worth it in suspected cases of pulmonary hypertension. My echo showed moderate to severe pulmonary hypertension but the RHC was much more favorable. In any event, it is helpful to have one as a baseline (certainly before starting treatment) and to correlate the echo with.
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#3 Sweet


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Posted 17 February 2010 - 05:00 AM

Hi Pickles and welcome!

I'm really glad you've joined us. Sure sorry to hear about your health issues.

Jeannie, gave you excellent advice. First step, get answers from your doctor as to why this needs to be done, make sure you fully understand what is happening. I agree with Jeannie, however, that although the procedure sounds daunting, it's quite common, and a little "peace of mind" goes a long way in my book. Having a baseline to go from is a wonderful thing.

Please let us know what you decide, and again welcome! :flowers:
Warm and gentle hugs,

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#4 miocean


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Posted 17 February 2010 - 06:05 AM

Hi Pickles,
I agree that you should find out the reasons for the tests. But don't worry if you have to have the catherization. I have had two due to abnormal stress tests. Before the first one I was a nervous wreck and scared to death because I didn't know what to expect. Although you are not put totally to sleep they give you something that makes you really relaxed. The only thing I felt was the needle going in. I switched cardiologists and the second one was even smoother. The recovery is long as you have to lay flat on your back for several hours to prevent blood clots. It is the only way the doctor can see what is really going on. Good luck!

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