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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Strange chest symptoms

 keithanthony - Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:33 pm


I have been worried about the following symptoms.

Last summer I experienced acute dizziness and a sensation that I can only describe as a feeling that I was about to die and that my whole system was shutting down. It scared me severely as I had never experienced anything lke it before. It recurred intermittently and I went to a neurologist, who ordered a brain MRI. He informed me that nothing showed relating to my brain but that I clearly had sinusitis and polyps in my sinus. I then went to an ENT specialist who said that the sinusitis was not a real problem and not the cause of my dizziness.
At the beginning of December 2004, I felt acute shortness of breath climbing one flight of stairs, and then the sensation of collapsing, although I never did faint. I was taken to hospital where I was diagnosed with an abnormal ecg, and then an enlarged heart. I do not have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. There is no history of heart disease in my immediate family. I was monitored overnight, bloodwork was done, and the cardiac doctor did an echogram and said that the echo looked normal, but that the ecg was abnormal. I was told that I should come back in February for a stress test and a monitor to be attached. for a day. This was in London. I am now in NY. Since I have been here, I have experienced sensations of gradual paralysis in my throat and chest, shortness of breath such that I find it difficult to have conversations sometimes, of having an obstruction in my chest, as if I had swallowed something indigestible, weakness in my calves, cramping in my hands and dizziness. I am always belching and swallowing air in an attempt to clear the sensation of choking in my chest and throat,, and my chest aches continuously.. The symptoms appear to be getting worse, or at least occuring more frequently and I am not sure what this could be. I find it hard to focus on anything else between episodes, and I would like an opinion on what this might be and steps I might take.

I hope that this is clear and not too confused a description, but I find it difficult to describe ths easily.

Keith Anthony
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:45 am

User avatar Dear Keith,

With the symptoms that you are describing, i think these are warning symptoms for a stroke.

Did the mri that you had in England look at the blood vessels of your brain as well, called mra?

If not, i think you should be evaluated by a neurologist on an emergeny basis, and have the circulation of your brain looked at immediately.

Stroke does not necessarily mean that you have a blocked artery but could mean that you have an aneurysm that is about to rupture and this is an emergency situation.

About the abnormal ekg, if the echocardiogram that was done in England was normal, it does not mean that you don't have coronary disease, i think it is a good idea to rule this out by having a stress test, but i think that you being evaluated for these stroke warning symptoms have the priority over anything else.

Please, i urge you to go to the emergency room now if at all possible.

This does not mean that this can be the only cause of your symptoms, but this is the most serious one, so you have to be evaluated and if turns out to be wrong, then well and good and other things could be looked at then.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 keithanthony - Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:39 am

Thank you for your response. I did go to the Emergency Room and just spent a week in hospital being evaluated. I have been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. My EF is said to be somewhere between 30% and 40%. I was told 40 at the stress echo test, and 30 by the doctors who performed a cardiac catheterisation on me.

My question is, is there a realistic chance of improving this back to normal levels, or do I just have to try to manage the situation as is?

Thank you for your time.

Keith Anthony
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:10 am

User avatar Dear Keith,

Thank you very much for the update.

There are medical treatment options that were proved in clinical trials to improve the ejection fraction of the heart in cases of heart failure. The patient might feel a little worse at the begnining and it takes a while for the ejection fraction to improve. Some patients did not respond however. These same treatment options decreased mortality rate significanly in clinical trials as well.

You are 44 years old and you still have a life to live and as healthy as possible. i suggest that you be followed-up by a cardiologist who is interested in heart failure patients in a place (preferably where heart transplant is done) so that you be treated the best way there is. No need to say that there are some patients who respond better than others and there are patients whose condition worsen faster. What i want to say is for you make sure to be followed in a place, offering all the available treatment options (up to heart transplantation) even if you don't need them either now or in the future.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

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