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Dec. 31st, 2008 @ 02:40 pm Back and Safe
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
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Date:December 31st, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
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Thrilled to hear you are safe and living and have no catastrophic illness. Best of luck with the bills that will almost certainly be coming for your hospital care (unless you have damned good health insurance, which I hope you do).

What exactly was the problem, if not a heart attack? Your post does not make clear what the final diagnosis was, and I admit to a certain morbid curiosity (especially since I have chest pains myself on occasion which feel somewhat heart-attackish).
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Date:December 31st, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)

Pectoral Angina

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I can summarize, but Wikipedia has a better in-depth explanation.

Myocardial infarction, commonly called a heart attack, is when a portion of the heart muscle dies from lack of oxygen. Typically from either a blocked heart blood vessel or a burst one. The vessels can be clogged (atherosclerosis) or they can be blocked by a floating blood clot.

Angina, chest pain, can be caused a heart attack. It can also be a warning sign that the heart is starving for oxygen, but no dead tissue yet. Nitroglycerin expands blood vessels, allowing more blood flow and possibly allowing a clot to pass and be scavenged by the proper biological systems. Pure oxygen from a mask or nasal canula increases the partial pressure of oxygen in the bloodstream also helping to prevent a heart attack.

Angina can also have other causes. It's difficult to diagnose the root cause.

I was on nitro for four hours, oxygen for 12 hours and bed rest for 24 hours to help any problems my heart might be having and then give it time to recover. Then the stress test this morning (An ECG monitored exercise while the ramp up a treadmill until my heart rate reaches 150 beats per minute) showed that my heart is in good working condition and does not have any problems under an increased load.