Friday, May 30, 2008

What the cardiologist said about my atrial flutter...

This post is more than 2 months late as my last cardiologist appointment was before the Mpumalanga bike ride in April, but it was written already, not sure why I didn't put it up, so here it is for posterity sake. The "about the atrial flutter" thing is actually to get more hits so if you're reading this as a link to find out more about atrial flutter, I do have it, read more about my cardiac history to see what I'm doing about it.

I was a little apprehensive going back to the cardiologist, it was 6 months down the line and when we parted last time he had hinted at a possible implanted device. I'm up for most things but I don't want to be THAT dependent on technology. So if he did suggest surgery I was gonna go running back to my old doctor and ask him for a second opinion.

Mildly paranoid as I am, I also had visions of him telling me that I've been abusing my body... I must stop exercising... I have deteriorated etc. But those weren't to be the results I would receive from him.

As per usual I went for an ECG where I still found it strange to sit while she stuck the, not so sticky, electrodes all over my chest. I watched as my heart rate fluctuated between 60 and 75. Somehow she picked a set of waves somewhere in the middle and I was done.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, considering the fortune my medical aid is paying for this appointment, I finally got to see the doctor. He was incessantly answering the phone, but after umming and ahing and taking what seemed like an awful amount of time doing the hands on physical examination...checking the pulse, and, I assume, water retention in my ankles, then listening to my heart from all sorts of positions, then listening to my breathing, again I assume for water on the lungs. Finally he tapped my on my back, which I assume has something to do with my kidneys... need to read more about why.

Then he did the echo cardiogram... it continually surprises me that he does it himself... anyway the good news is that he found my ejection fraction(EF) to be between 44 and 46%. I'm not sure how accurate the measurement techniques are but he seemed quite confident that there was an improvement. The thing is that I can't say that I FEEL an improvement. Sure I go about my day much like I assume any other "normal" person does. I work a full day, go for a run and then go to bed between 9 and 11 without being completely exhausted. But I've felt this way for ages... what does a 10% increase in heart function (previous EF was 36%) do, or feel like.

So I'm going to continue being an eternal pessimist and assume that the last EF of 36% was under measured and this EF of 44% was over measured, and assume that I'm somewhere in between at about 40%. I wish I knew exactly what my EF was when I was first diagnosed 9yrs ago, but considering climbing a flight of stairs was a problem I'm sure there is a huge improvement. And then if I look at my exercise log book, last May I started out doing very short runs, now I do 5km three times a week... I sometimes find the run itself tough, but I recover fine. So maybe there is a definite improvement... I will convince my self when I do my first half marathon.

First I need to survive next week's 400km bicycle tour...


Anonymous said...

Hi Mark

I think this is great news! I cannot believe how committed you are! Kudos to you!!


Mark said...

Thanks Marli,

I often can't believe how commited I seem to be either. However it's so much easier to do this when there are people around you who support you and give you a push when you need one. Tell you to stop being lazy and get off your butt.