I wanted to let you know what happened to my husband and myself when he had a nuclear stress test for his heart. My husband is 65 years old and otherwise in good health. He felt some chest discomfort that he described as soreness which was probably his chest tightening. He had no muscular discomfort when I palpated his chest. I wanted him to go the ER immediately but he refused. He agreed to tell his primary Dr. about this pain. His Dr. ordered a nuclear stress test which he did almost immediately.He travels, plus it was a sore point between us so I didn't follow it up thinking he probably was told he had a normal stress test. I asked if he heard the about the results. We found that the results weren't sent to his Dr's office after almost a week and when we called the testing center they said they had a week to get the results read. I am a nurse and so I knew that these test can be interpreted by the end of the day at the latest.The results were sent to his primary Dr's office that day. I found out later that the report said that there was a minor variation and should be checked by a cardiologist but there wasn't any urgency. As a result his primary Dr. told him to make an appointment with a cardiologist that he recommended.
A week later we had the appointment. The cardiologist (different one, thank goodness)said that he had a very abnormal stress test and wanted him to have a heart cath as soon as possible. He had the heart cath 2 days later. He had a 99% blockage in his circumflex artery and 90% blockage in "the widow maker" which is the left anterior descending. He had two stents which completely opened up the arteries.The Dr.said he could have had a major heart attack at any time that he probably wouldn't survive or be a severe "cardiac cripple".It's important to note that this is a well respected cardiac group in a large city! I called the office shortly after this, asking to speak to the manager, who once again reiterated their policy that they had a week to read the tests. I told her that this was essentially B.S. and asked to speak to her boss. When I talked to the woman who is in charge of several cardiac clinics she once again said they had a week to read the results. I told her that my husband could have easily died during this delay and I wondered how often this had happened to other clients. I also asked her how this would hold up in a court of law. She called shortly after and told me she had reprimanded the manger saying this wasn't their policy. I asked why she had also stated the same thing. I told her that they had better change this policy soon or I would go to the press! She called two days later stating they had an emergency meeting to discuss medical protocols and had changed this while thanking me for pointing this out. Unbelievable!
He had cholesterol problems which were controlled by Lipitor. His last reading was 177 but they did a more advanced test that is called LDL-P. The P stands for particles of LDL. You can have two times of LDL cholesterol, some are big and fluffy and some are more numerous and smaller. My husband had a very high reading of LDL-P which means he had the small,numerous ones that can easily permeate the artery wall causing more plaque build up inside the artery. The large, fluffy ones can't penetrate nearly as easily.This test was done months ago and hadn't been addressed.
We could have sued but we didn't. Our main concern was that this didn't happen to others.
Update: I am so thankful that my story will help people. I contacted the administration of this conglomerate of clinics today. I explained my concerns and the same woman I had talked to before called me back. She explained that she had chastised the manager of the clinic and that their policy was the report was to be done in 24 hours.
I reminded her that she had also said that they had up to a week to complete the report. She didn't say anything. I told her that I was glad to see there were new protocols in place.