Monday, 7 March 2011

The doctor will see you now

Got to see my doctor today about the test results for my weird heart beat. ECGs, blood work, and a holter monitor - all that data came together today. Finally. I was getting tired or waiting.

ECG - good. Blood work - awesome. Cholesterol - not a concern. No thyroid issues. No kidney issues.

Aside - as an engineer, you get nervous when you see a "problem" but then you can't find it again. I was starting to feel that way here.

The holter monitor had some interesting data. Now this thing watched my heart continuously for 24hrs, recording every moment. I did not do any training during this time as the monitor was a pain in the ass. ;) But that was the only thing that I adjusted in my day - everything else was the same. For the full 24hrs, my average HR was 69. The lowest HR measured was 39. 39?!?!? That seems crazy low! But the doctor that examined the monitor didn't seem concerned with this - there was no visible, concerning arrhythmia there.

But there were some "events" that were noted. Three "rare" early atrial contractions, two "rare" early ventrical contractions, and eight "significant pauses" with the longest (between beats) being 2.2 seconds. 2.2 seconds?!?!?!

I was feeling a bit mixed at this point. Lots of data, and a few data points that I took as concerning. But my doctor took care of that. His interpretation is that none of this is really anything to be concerned about. It is documented that "well conditioned athletes" can have low HRs, and some form of non-progressive, non-critical heart block pattern. From his point of view, nothing to be worried about, and business as usual for me and my training.

But he's also a rational man, and he thinks like I do. There was a measured block pattern captured at the hospital before - that should still be considered even if we didn't see it on the monitor, or I've not experienced anything like that since. He told me if I wasn't pursuing marathons and Ironmans there's be nothing more to do. But given the level of activity, and the type of activity, he wants to be 100% certain that his thoughts are correct. Me too.

So it's time for a referral to a cardiologist. We've got quite a stacked file now with data from hospital visits and a pile of tests, and this should feed a cardiologist's analysis quite well. I look forward to getting a specialists view on all this. The only bad thing - this probably won't be a quick process. The good thing - it'll take some time because I'm quite low on the risk scale.

I'm feeling quite relieved by all this. It's good to know the results, and I'm happy that all the blood work came back so good too. So, as my doctor said, it's back to "business as usual" for activity, family and training. Not so much second guessing what I feel...but I'll still pay attention for anything that might be abnormal.

Marathon - here I come!


Matty O said...

Man crazy data there! 39 is pretty low ;) good job haha!

I hate being an engineer sometimes. A lot of people hate dealing with me because I am so critical and ask so many questions about everything. I can never take ANYTHING at face value.

I get it. Glad you have a doc that gets you. That is a huge benefit man.

Marv said...

Aboout 3 years ago, I had a similar report from my doctor after I told him that my HR monitor shows my heart doing spikes for no apparent reason. I was concerned I was about to stroke out. I was about 64 at the time. He ran some tests and called it something which was unique to athletes... I can't remember what is was, after all I am 67 now --- and didn't seem too alarmed. My resting HR was 36 at the time. So, I left it to God, gave my HR monitor away, and been OK since.