Yesterday I ended up in A&E (ER) with chest pains, now this isn’t as worrying as it sounds because I get Naturally occurring Inverted T waves on ECG.
Of course once the cardiac nurse saw this, she had to follow protocol as they can’t take the risk that I am not actually suffering from a blocked artery or having a heart attack. So it was blood tests, aspirin and a nice dose of diamorphine, which also took the pain away in my legs.
I haven’t always had this problem, I was given a thorough health screen when I worked for the MoD in the ’80’s, a certain test we were involved with meant we had to be in perfect health and the ECG and all tests were fine. I then trained as a fire-fighter a couple of years later and that also obviously meant I had to be in perfect health.
However in 1996 I collapsed with chest pains, I was 29 at the time and when I was taken to A&E the doctor told me that I had Pericarditis and so I was admitted and monitored on the ward. It was there that the inverted T-Wave was first spotted and I was then transferred to cardiac care and then taken by ambulance to the London Chest hospital. I had an angiogram and it was all clear and I was allowed home, however a few days later I was back in hospital and in cardiac care and spent a few days there until a consultant marched into the room and said “you can go home, your problem is above the neck and not below it” and then marched out. The nurse was very apologetic and I went home.
I tried to get back to work and yet I just couldn’t do very much without ending up devoid of any energy and this carried on for months. In the end I was diagnosed with ME or CFS as it’s often called and I have put up with chest pains ever since. I was last checked in 2008 when the pains got very bad and another angiogram confirmed that I had clear arteries and I was allowed home.
The family joke is that my headstone will say ‘It’s okay this is normal for me’ because I tend to just ignore the chest pains and put it down to the same old thing.
So yesterday I was laid in a hospital bed with a registrar called AJ asking me about my medical history, he agreed that I had pericarditis back in 1996 and it wasn’t imaginary. He said that it is then that these ECG changes occurred and for some reason I am now left with it and it should be look into twenty years later.
Have you had these ECG changes?
Have you been told its okay and just live with it?