Thursday, June 27, 2013

98% Certain This is a Benign Issue

That's what the doctor said. (Insert Happy Dance here)

I have to go back in for a treadmill test. Probably in about two weeks. Doc wants to see exactly what happens when I run. But if that test jives with everything else he's seen and heard then all is good. The office staff were having difficulty accessing the doctor's schedule at Crozer so they will call me. He usually works out of that hospital and said he'd prefer to do it himself so he can talk about the results right then. That works for me! :)

The diagnosis is PVC's: Premature Ventricular Contractions - extra beats originating from the ventricles (lower heart chambers). Combined with other underlying conditions that may be a problem. I have none of those and in fact I am in 'excellent health'. Doc's words. :)

Doc spent a good hour with me asking questions. Some of them were the same question asked in a different way but that is a good thing. His diagnostic skills are excellent. It helped me relate all the necessary details. The heart runs on electricity (I knew that part) and like any other electrical system it is subject to short circuit from time to time. Some people have 10,000 of these extra beats a day! The holter monitor I wore for 24 hours revealed 27 extra beats; 25 from the ventricles 2 from the atria. I've probably been having them all along just never noticed them before.

"So", says the doctor, "Why did you suddenly start feeling as many as you did that day you were running and why do you feel like in the past two months that it has gotten worse (more incidents)". I almost hugged him. That's exactly what I was getting ready to ask. :)

He said he has no definitive answer for the first part. It happens. Sometimes the awareness of them is cyclical. People have a flurry and notice them for weeks or months and then the awareness dissipates. The second part about increased activity these past two months ... I had the awareness that day, it spooked me, then the GP tells me to see a cardiologist which adds to the spook so it's a mind game now. Doc said I'm not imagining them I'm just extra tuned in to my heart right now and so of course I'm noticing more.

He continued to say 'we' have two things to do now 1) Have the stress test to so that he can objectively see what happens when I run and after that confirms his belief that these are benign 2) I have to go out and run or bike through them and convince my brain that it's ok.

So mind over matter which I'm usually pretty good with. If I wasn't I would never have made it through a marathon (or childbirth). And I'm halfway to believing it's all good after this visit. He did say (I asked) to stay off the running or biking until the stress test but he's certain he'll clear me after that.

So what about the 'valve issue' Michelle (the GP nurse) mentioned? Doc looked at the text from the echo and sure enough the tech wrote something about leakage in the pulmonary bicuspid valve. He actually shrugged at that. He said no one has 100% closure on their valves. He saw the pictures of the echo and the leakage is well within normal range and I don't even need to monitor it. He said everything else on the echo was first rate. As was my blood work.

Other notable (to me) items from this visit
- My blood pressure was 90 over 60. Normal for me and comforting that it's still good.
- Since my visit to Dr. Vengen on May 1st I've lost 5 pounds. Cool!

What's next? Beside the stress test? That is subject for another post ...... Thanks for listening. And thanks to all who have sent me good thoughts and wishes these past weeks.

Keep smiling and keep moving.


  1. Oh Em Gee!!!!
    That is excellent news!!
    Happy Dance in the Big Easy (most likely a Second Line!)
    Woo hoo!!

  2. Sounds good so far - just don't blow off the stress test follow up!! Glad it was good news...

  3. Paula! I'm so happy to read this good news :)) - aimee

  4. I got up and did a happy dance. So glad this looks like it's going to be fine!