Chronicles of the Heart – Problems With Ramipril…

As you might know if you’ve been following this saga, I was prescribed the ACE inhibitor Ramipril (for hypertension), while still in hospital a few weeks ago. With my history, I shouldn’t have been, and if the prescribing doctor had bothered talking to me first, I wouldn’t have been.

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Chronicles of the Heart, Part 13…

And here we have – yet another letter to my GP! The hospital doctor isn’t Dr. Dingbat, of course, but bloody should be! Incompetence personified.

My advice, and I say this in all seriousness, is to refuse point blank if your appointment at St. Cath’s Hospital, Wirral (or any other for that matter), turns out to be with a GP with a special interest in – whatever it might be. It really is no substitute for the in-depth knowledge and experience of a consultant. Cut-price medicine at it’s most inexcusable.

June 6 2011

Dear Dr. Xxxxxx,

I thought I’d let you know the outcome of my echo, which I had on Thursday as, apparently, there is a delay of several weeks in St. Cath’s correspondence.

First, though, I have to say that I have Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, part 12 – the echocardiogram…

First, I have to say that, as I mentioned last week, I have zero confidence in the doctor, who, to protect her identity and me from a libel writ, as she is staggeringly useless, I shall call Dr. Dingbat.** When we discussed my medication last week, I mentioned that the oedema in my legs had improved since starting the Candesartan, and that I put this down to the fact that it improved kidney function.

**Her “I’m the doctor, your opinion doesn’t matter” attitude needs to bloody change, too!

She argued that Candesartan had Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart – Part 11…

I’m losing weight. So what, you might think? Well, I’ve been eating one meal a day since about 2002, and yet I’ve been unable to get, and remain, much below 15stone.

Since my heart failure diagnosis, and steady diet of diuretics, I pretty promptly lost half a stone, taking me to 14st 7lb, and there I stuck.

Yesterday, though, seeing myself in the bathroom mirror, my face looked positively gaunt, and white as a sheet – one of those very Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart – Part 10…

Right, it’s official – I do have heart failure. Or mitral valve failure, or some bloody thing!

There must be some decent doctors in the system, somewhere but, somehow, they never seem to come my way.

They did an ECG – about 5 seconds worth of trace, which struck me as inadequate – not everything will show up in that short period.

Then I was wheeled in to see the doctor who, based Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart – Part 9…

As I said in this post I now have my hospital records. I won’t repeat all that I said there, but the first ECG, taken on the day I was admitted clearly states:-

Abnormal ECG “Unconfirmed” (unconfirmed, of course because no bugger followed it up!)

  • Sinus tachycardia*
  • Left atrial enlargement**
  • Inferior infarct, age undetermined***
  • Cannot rule out anteroseptal infarct****

* Elevated heart rate

** There’s little data available, but odds are it’s linked to my COPD. Don’t know why just yet.

***I know the age. It dates from 1995 when I was admitted – Arrowe Park again – with a suspected coronary. I was kept in 2 weeks, told it had been angina and sent home. That “angina” took me months to recover from.

**** see ***.

It addition Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 7 – addendum…

In Chronicles of the Heart, Part 7… Beware of Candesartan I mentioned that for unknown reasons, I’d developed colitis/IBS. Which was true, but the reason was elusive because I felt so crappy I just couldn’t focus. This afternoon, having started my yoghurt therapy for IBS, I can think a little more clearly.

The reason I have colitis/IBS is that I have GERD – Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease, which goes hand in glove with COPD very often, as in my case.

For 4 months, because heart failure prevents my lying down, I’ve had to sleep sitting up, on the couch (and god, am I sick of that!), which in theory should prevent reflux, but my oesophageal sphincter is so buggered that’s not the case and, this week  just past, I had a flare-up (and if the acid gets in the lungs, not only is it agonisingly painful** Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 7… Beware of Candesartan.

As some of you will know, I’ve had a pretty bad couple of days, and at least part of the cause, I believe, is a combination of Candesartan (heart failure drug), and COPD.

One of Candesartan’s functions is to improve kidney function. If you are already taking a diuretic, as I was (Furosemide – Lasix in the colonies), Candesartan pushes it into overdrive.

In one respect that was great – the oedema in my legs is almost gone – in other respects Continue reading

Chronicles of the Heart, Part 6…

Progress at last.

Last weekend I was prescribed Candesartan (an angiotensin II receptor antagonist**), which I started last Monday (always best with calendar packs, if you can).

**Basically a vasodilator, which reduces blood pressure. Apparently, it improves kidney function too.

First impressions were an overall increase in pain levels, which seems to have passed off. I also, briefly, had serious Continue reading