Friday, June 27, 2014

My Recent Hospital Stay, Weight and Heart


    I had lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. I was down to 121 pounds and I am 6'2" tall. I was admitted to the Mayo Clinic hospital in Jacksonville for malnutrition. One week later the same scale said I was 174.8 pounds. It's almost all swelling, and, since my blood albumin (protein) is low, likely anasarca.

     I have had scleroderma (SSc) since at least January, 2010. I have a bad, perhaps severe, case. It affects my skin, my entire GI tract, my lungs, some joints, and my kidneys. The only organ that SSc affects that hadn't hit me was my heart... or so we thought. I had an echocardiogram at the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday. My ejection fraction was measured at 37%, far below the norm of 65%. On Wednesday I had a cardiac catheterization to rule out blocked arteries being the cause. When it was over the doctor who did the test made sure to tell me my arteries were "great." Apparently the measurements were all zeroes. I felt a bit of pride at this. A lot of people go to the gym, but men tend to spend a lot more time with the weights, while I spent a lot of time on the elliptical and stair machines. I don't think I ever worked my heart too hard, and so would imagine that the net result was a really tip-top cardiovascular system.

     But what no one in the Cardiac team, led by Dr. Mohamad Yamani, mentioned was that some of all that swelling was around my heart, pressuring it, reducing my measured ejection fraction?

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