MGoPSA Announcement Way OT Chest Pains

Submitted by East Quad on December 9th, 2018 at 6:53 AM

I had chest pains this past week so drove to ER when they became more severe. Diagnosed with 99.5% blockage in Left Anterior Descending Artery(LAD) Received 3 inches of stents immediately. I was lucky. No irreversible or significant damage to heart.

LAD is called the Widowmaker because it supplies most of the blood to the heart. It also is unusual because blockage can move from 50 to 100% quickly. No other artery had blockage for me.

Be more aware than I was in case you have chest pains. Mine started right sided and infrequent.

Thank God for Doctors, hospitals and cardiac treatment technology.

Merry Christmas.




December 9th, 2018 at 7:08 AM ^

I’m glad your ok. I was always raised to just tough it out, or if you have a little pain just ignore it. As I get older I realize if your body is telling you something you should get it looked at. Your story is a good reminder of that. Thank you. 


December 9th, 2018 at 7:10 AM ^

I have five stents -4 proceedures since 2002- . Glad to see you made it.

I have been in cardiac rehab/maint since then. Exercise is important if you are retired.

East Quad

December 9th, 2018 at 7:37 AM ^

Thanks. Glad you are doing well.

I was in the hospital for 24 hours. My takeaway is that you don't need to have chonic angina to have a problem. The severity of blockage can escalate quickly in the LAD and blockage there can kill you.

I'm resting at home today but planning to return to work on Monday.

East Quad

December 9th, 2018 at 8:58 AM ^

Thanks for the wishes and the hint. I have a tendency to let the recruiting go. Either someone values a Michigan education or they weren't meant to come to our university. It's their loss if they decide otherwise and I never sweat the starz. Best wishes for Dax Hill. Someone who values it more will replace him, even if it is a walkon.

Warm Cockles

December 9th, 2018 at 8:05 AM ^

Go post. Take care of yourself, Gents. Get some exercise this holiday season.

Accept that the football team is not elite and won't be and save yourself some chest pain.


December 9th, 2018 at 8:13 AM ^

Glad it was caught and remediated soon enough!  I'm also glad the stent went in without an issue - as most of them do.  When they don't, they cause a full blockage that requires immediate surgery.  This happened with my dad - a stent for his left femoral artery couldn't get through the blockage and shoved it all together.  Bam - full blockage.  They got him into emergency surgery and ended up replacing the artery from his pelvis all the way into the foot (it was that bad from (mostly untreated) diabetes).

Moral of the story: even common out-patient procedures like stents can have life threatening repercussions.  The technology and skill behind them are incredible and should not be taken for granted!


December 9th, 2018 at 12:46 PM ^

If you are in ANN Arbor, you can get your calcium CT scan of your heart for $100.  Not covered by insurance but a very smart thing to do if you are 40, 50, 60 years old just to see.  You can have it done at East, West ANN Arbor and Brighton so no need to go to the Hospital for it.  Good to check


December 9th, 2018 at 8:26 AM ^

Wow. Glad to hear you are ok and had the good sense to get yourself to the hospital quickly. Very scary stuff.

Four weeks ago this past Thursday, my best buddy dropped dead of a massive heart attack at work. He was 64. They kept him on life support for several hours while 3 different heart surgeons tried 3 different techniques, all to no avail. They found that he had two arteries that were 80-90 % blocked and another was 100% blocked. Later into the night after a neurologist was called in, both the neurologist & one of the heart guys helped his wife & family make “the call”. He left behind a beautiful wife, 3 beautiful kids, daughter/son in law’s and 7 amazing grandkids. All of them devastated by the loss. He was just weeks away from handing over the family business over to his son.

As a best buddy for so many years I mourn his loss also but at times I can’t believe he didn’t have at least SOME inkling that something was wrong. 

Again, I’m glad to read you had the good sense to get to a hospital soon. Blessings and a very Merry Christmas to you & your family.

Craptain Crunch

December 9th, 2018 at 8:31 AM ^

That has to be the best 3" of penetration you have ever had in your life! Glad you didn't ignore the signs because we all know that God hates Michigan and bans any of his occupants from watching the games from above. Now you can watch the games here on Earth and point up at him and say, "I beat you!" And hopefully, our beloved Michigan hating God will allow you (and me) to see Michigan beat OSU once in the near future and possibly land a few 5 stars that will be difference makers. 



December 9th, 2018 at 12:23 PM ^

“Dude”, I really enjoy this blog & the knowledge that can be gained re M football, basketball and even some life’s experience but there’s always a couple guys who try their absolute best to demonstrate their immaturity & shallow thinking in the way they post. Congrats - you win the prize thus far today. 


December 9th, 2018 at 8:41 AM ^

Good to hear you made it to the hospital ok and are recovering. Please be diligent in follow up visits and imaging for your cardiologists. Stents are well known to be a short term fix in most cases, and you would do right to have a bypass if the stents don't remain patent.

The stents are used to put structure back into the vessel and dilate out the blockage, but your body is still very prone to the collection of plaques at that site. You are doing good work by sharing your story and helping to make others aware.

Best of luck in recovery!


December 9th, 2018 at 11:30 AM ^

Please be advised, and yes, I am a bit biased here, but multiple stents is a poor option to consider for long term. If you have 1 vessel stented, fine. Probably better than cracking the sternum and going on bypass. Multiple stents is bad practice, and some cardiologists will push that for their own agenda (compensation). 

I would highly encourage you to consider bypass surgery if you see future issues. Also, a 99.5% occlusion honestly seems like a good candidate for a single-vessel graft, but I am not your cardiologist nor have I viewed any of your history or workup. 


For a single vessel graft, especially to bypass a blockage in the LAD, they will use the LIMA. This will offer you good flow, minimal suture work, and the vessel used is an artery with a single, distal anastamosis, as opposed to multi-vessel grafts which will typically harvest your Saphenous vein and require both distal and proximal anastamoses, which will have your aorta punctured and sutured for the proximals. 

If you have any questions or anything and just want someone to shoot the shit with about it, I'm available for that kind of thing. Problems of the heart can be a scary thing. 

East Quad

December 9th, 2018 at 8:50 AM ^

LAD blockage is part lifestyle and part hereditary. I would guess mine was mostly hereditary since no other blockage found. My Mom had LAD stents by angioplasty many years ago but I didn't know the significance for me. So talk with your family and your cardiologist as you age. I am 63. I'm sure more exercise would have helped me avoid the issue, too.


December 9th, 2018 at 10:05 AM ^

what you eat matters most

people think a lot of things are hereditary when in fact we eat the same way as our parents did and think it is hereditary when in fact it's diet - I now eat 80-90% plant based and have 1-2 meat/fish meals a week

this site has great information

I have dropped 30 pounds since mid-July and my blood pressure is dropping

blood pressure is one of the best leading indicators - also, getting a carotid artery scan is good

East Quad

December 9th, 2018 at 9:06 AM ^

Started subtle a week ago under the breastbone and into my right wrist mostly. More like pressure than a sharp pain. Pain would last 15 to 20 minutes max. One to three times daily. Occasionally some left wrist discomfort. On Friday as I drove to ER pain escalated to crushing unbearable in center of chest. Again lasted 15 to 20 minutes but subsided only a minute or two before resuming unabated. Fortunately I was in the ER and went almost immediately into surgery.


December 9th, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

Thanks for the info—thankfully, I've never had anything remotely similar. Congrats on recognizing the signs and taking the steps that probably saved your life.

Driving yourself to the ER with crushing chest pains must have been an interesting experience.

East Quad

December 9th, 2018 at 9:32 AM ^

It didn't start in the heavy pain mode but escalated along the way.  I made an interesting call to my wife. I think the recommended transport would have been by ambulance if I had known the trouble to come. Friday afternoon traffic made the journey seem to take forever and then locating parking was a treat. Fortunately there was an ER nurse who facilitated triage, EKG and admission. 

rob f

December 9th, 2018 at 11:58 AM ^

In that respect, you're very fortunate to have made it in time.  

A 73 yr old buddy of mine is right now in the hospital with pneumonia, went in late Friday night a week ago when he could barely breathe.  His wife wanted to drive him the 10 miles to get there and he immediately vetoed it and made her call 911.  Within minutes the E-unit arrived and they got him oxygen and stabilized him.  The on-duty doctor told him it was a wise choice to have called 911 as he possibly might not have otherwise made it, his oxygen levels were so low.

Next morning it got more complicated, though, as they ran him through the complete battery of tests and found that he had also suffered a "mild" heart attack.  He says he never had any chest pains or pressure or any of the other common warning signs associated with heart attacks.

He's now out of the ICU, but not out of the woods----they've gotten the upper hand with his pneumonia but the next problem on the agenda is his heart.  His wife told me a few days ago that he's being evaluated for bypass surgery as soon as his overall health allows it.

But thanks for your MGoPSA.  One of the best OPs we've had on this board, especially if it prompts MGoUsers to act upon rather than ignore symptoms.


December 9th, 2018 at 11:32 AM ^

Angina pains can vary. I still lift weights in my mid 50s and at times after a good bench press workout I can get muscle and rib cartilage pains. I told my doctor a few years ago about occasional chest pain, so he  referred me to a cardiologist. They ended up doing a stress test and CTA. I passed the test fine and there were a few minor calcium deposits, no plaque build  up noted. So, it can be difficult to differentiate between muscle and rib cage pain and that of angina. The cardiologist told me if you feel any kind of pressure with chest pains, then you should go to the ER asap. Also, if you have a blood pressure monitor at home and know the average range of your diastolic pressure (bottom number of your blood pressure) and you are having chest pains and it this number is higher, then it could mean a possible blockage.


December 9th, 2018 at 9:23 AM ^

I appreciate you sharing your story as it could help someone think differently about their health. As men, we sometimes ignore the signs that our body is telling us and that literally can kill us. I have recently started eating differently in hopes of avoiding this same fate. Thank you again for sharing! This will serve as a reminder when I'm eating all of the healthy food instead of what I really want.

Arb lover

December 9th, 2018 at 9:46 AM ^

The tough man mentality also extends to doctors, even if they aren't aware of it. (Not trying to blame hard working doctors, it may also simply be a function of our health system in general as well as society).

Just a case study example here, but I've only been to the doctor twice in the last five ish years, and both times I've gone for things that reputable websites say you should go get checked out for (possible melanoma, and hernia). However the doctor (one male one female, both about my age) told me each in their own way not to worry, it wasn't anything, and to not come back for this sort of issue in the future. I think the words used were slightly nicer, but they clearly communicated to me through body language and tone that I was wasting their time. On a side note I followed up with a dermatologist on my own who told me he was glad I came in, and that I should always come in for stuff like that, in the future.

I could imagine a guy having several experiences like this over his adult life, and being less likely to go in to the doctor/hospital for something he isn't sure is anything to begin with. 


December 9th, 2018 at 9:42 AM ^

My next door neighbor had something similar happen to him.  He had some chest pains and was just going to rest and ignore it ( he had a stress test a few months prior and there was nothing abnormal).  Fortunately, his wife is a nurse and insisted on driving him to the hospital where he was also diagnosed with the widow maker with near 100% blockage. He's doing ok now with the stent, about a year later.

Hotel Putingrad

December 9th, 2018 at 9:53 AM ^

What kind of pains exactly?  EDIT:Ah, now I see one of your earlier replies.

Just for context, how old are you?

I've been feeling short of breath a lot lately, and it worries me. I'm also having recurring pain above both knees that I can't explain.


December 9th, 2018 at 11:46 AM ^

Even if you are in your 20s you should still get a blood test to know your total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides. If your LDL > 200, HDL <35 and triglycerides >155. You should think about modifying your diet or if that fails to get your numbers in balance, you may want to start a low dose statin. You may be accumulating plague that will clog your arteries into your 40s and 50s.