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Monday, July 18, 2011

The Illusive CTA Scan

Based on the results of my stress test, the doctor wanted me to have a CTA scan of the heart. It gives a much better picture of the blood flow through the heart. I showed up for the test knowing that there wasn't anything wrong, after all a couple weeks earlier I was out running with my grand daughter who was preparing to go out for the junior high cross country team. We kept a decent pace and I was out of breath when we finished, but no chest pains and I recovered after a few minutes.

The test requires that they give you a drug to lower your heart rate below 60 then inject a radioactive material and take a scan of your heart. My heart rate before the test was 62. The nurse was confident that I would only need a single dose and we'd be on our way. She had had a little trouble finding a good vein for the large needle required for the test, but finally felt we had a good one and gave me the first dosage. My heart rate dropped, but did not stay below 60 so she injected another dosage. That was my first clue that things weren't going well. Finally after a third dose, I was declared ready. They wheel me into the nuclear medicine department for the CTA scan and position me in the scanner.

A minute into the test my arm starts to ache and they immediately stop the test. The technician noticed that my left bicep had a strong resemblance to Arnold's in his prime. I had an "infiltration" or a blowout of the vein at the injection site. We would have to redo the test next week.

Test 2: I show up for the test and am in the waiting room and the technician comes out to tell me that the CTA machine was broke and that I'd have to reschedule because the part had to be ordered.

Test 3: Again I show up for the test and guess what! Yep, the machine is broke again, but the repair man was there fixing it and I could wait or reschedule. I decided to wait. Finally got the test complete after 3 failed attempts to find a suitable vein.

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