Met with Dr. Dorosti at the Cleveland Clinic. A very experienced doctor from Iran who graduated from medical school in Tehran in 1967 but performed his internship at the Jewish Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Dr. Dorosti reviewed my chart and family history and concurred that a cath was in order. He explained what was going on and what the risks of the procedure were and we decided to go forward with the test the next day.
The next day we went back to the Cleveland Clinic and got prepped for the test and when I was moved to the cath department I had two other patients before me so I had to wait about two hours.
Finally the time arrives and as I'm lying on the table in the procedure room with all of this high tech equipment all around me, I have my first real thoughts of my mortality. Although the percentages are very small, about 1 in 1,000 of these procedures are not survived. When the procedure started, I was prepared to die but not afraid to. I had lived a good life, raised two of the best kids a father could ever ask for. I am fully awake through the procedure watching the monitors and seeing the probe enter different sections of the heart. I was even able to carry on a conversation with the doctor. It was almost like I was in the movie "Fantastic Voyage" from the mid 60's when A diplomat is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew.
The test confirms a blockage of 60-70% in my left main coronary artery, but much less blockage in the other arteries. The blockage was not in an area conducive to placing a stint, so the test was ended.
The Options: After reviewing the film of the procedure, the doctor came to talk with us and gave us 3 options. First option was to have a couple of stints placed in the artery with the blockage, but it was complicated by a branch off. One stint would be placed above the branch and a 2nd below. The procedure could be done, but there was a chance the two stints could grow together and cause a total blockage.
Option 2 was to have a bypass procedure where the would take a mammary artery and sew it to the heart above and below the blockage, thus bypassing it.
Option 3 was to use medication to lower the risks of heart atack.
The Doctor felt the the bypass surgery was my best option, but that I should think it over and decide. My current condition was not life threatening at the moment, so I had a little time. On the way home from the hospital I called one of my baseball teammates who is a doctor and told him what they found. He suggested a consider a fourth option which involves a rather significant life style change of diet and exorcise, specifically a program by Dr. Dean Ornish, a cardiologist who developed a diet program that has been clinically proven to reverse heart disease.