A week ago Monday, Sondra and I left on an emergency trip to Oklahoma. My brother, Noel, was admitted to the Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Midwest City (just on the outskirts of OKC). He was having severe pain in his chest with his heart condition. As background, he also has diabetes and has had four stents implanted in the last several years. Some years ago, he received a pacemaker for his heart also. A year and a half ago, he suffered a stroke as well.
This will be a load of medical information, which you may or may not want to read in its entirety. Just know that Noel is at mom's house in Shawnee this afternoon after a ten-day stay in the hospital. He was ready to get out and have some good food, so we went immediately to Chili's for a quick lunch. He enjoyed it immensely. He is now busy this afternoon getting all his lab work and doctor's appointments lined up for the days ahead. He hopes to get the ablation therapy soon.
So, here's the medical scoop.
While in the hospital, Noel has had many tests. He had three separate head CT scans, an abdominal ultrasound (looking at liver, bladder, pancreas), a carotid artery ultrasound, an echocardiogram (EKG), a TEE (Trans-Esophageal Echocardiogram), and an angiogram.
Noel is in atrial fibrillation almost 100% of the time. AFib (for short) is the abnormal heart rhythm of the two upper chambers of the heart. It involves the quivering (fibrillating) of the heart in the atria, rather than beating in a coordinated contraction.
The real problem for Noel is severe chest pain. He describes it as a tremendous pounding of his heart (like he has run a marathon) even when he has done little or no physical activity. While in the hospital, the pain was so intense that he was given nitro pills and then morphine to contain the pain symptoms. Apparently this problem is due to his AFib condition. Several doctors have now come to common agreement on the ablation therapy to fix the problem. If that doesn't work, the MAZE procedure may be considered, which calls for open heart surgery. The ablation is the first and least invasive surgery.
So to make an attempt to fix the AFib issue, one procedure is ablation. This is a specialized procedure to treat AFib by a heart specialist called an electrophysiologist. It is performed by guiding special wires and instruments through the circulatory system to the heart. The areas of the heart or arteries that cause the abnormal electrical signals are neutralized.
Noel has been contacted a short while ago, and sppointments have been set up for him to see his heart specialist and another doctor (the electrophysiologist) on Thursday, August 18. Apparently, they will set up the ablation surgery at that time. He also has lab tests next Monday, August 8. All of these appointments are in the OKC area. That's it for now.