Thursday, March 10, 2011

Buzzard Update

Had a follow up visit at the cardiologist last week.  Had been on a drug regimen for my cardiomyopathy diagnosis since October; and, this visit was 3 months after my heart catheterization procedure in early December. 

Through that angiogram, they determined that there were no signs of arterial disease/blockage; but, they did confirm that my left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was only in the 35 to 40% range.  The LVEF is a measure of the amount of blood that is pumped out of your heart and into your arteries.  In most cases, the normal amount may be in the 55 to 65% range.  So, clearly I was only pumping out a small fraction of what I should have been.

Since October, I had been on a cocktail of beta blockers, ace-inhibitors, statins and blood thinner.  The goal was to lower my blood pressure and blood viscosity in order to make it easier for my heart to pump out the blood.  By lowering the pumping resistance, the theory is that the heart can get stronger and improve function.

The big concern of a low LVEF (35% or below) is a pretty big increase in the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.  So, if we weren't seeing an improvement in my LVEF, he wanted to have a discussion about implanting a defibrillator.  Although the risk is still pretty low of a cardiac event (even at 35% or below it's maybe 1% risk), there are no warning signs/pre-cursor events.  If it happens, it occurs without warning and unless you have an internal defibrillator or an AED available for immediate action, it's almost always fatal. 

Needless to say, none of that discussion was very comforting.

So, off I went to get another echocardiogram to see if the meds had been at all successful.  After waiting for several days, I got a phone message from the doctor's nurse yesterday with some good news.  My ejection fraction has improved to the 45 to 50% range.  Not yet in the normal range; but, a significant improvement over a few months ago.  And, most importantly - it takes the discussion of a defibrillator off the table.

Have another follow up visit in a month - at which time we'll visit some more about continuation of treatment by meds and lifestyle issues (i.e. running and racing).  But, it certainly looks like there's a bit of a ray of light shining through.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

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