Saturday, February 12, 2011

I've Been Dreading it For a Year

Cardiology. That's what I'm in right now. When I found out a year ago that cardiology was a required rotation of 4th year, I started dreading it at that very second. I'm now halfway done with the rotation, and surprisingly, I'm enjoying it. Like really enjoying it! My preceptor is AMAZING, and has taught me such interesting and applicable things that I enjoy going in each day. The week is split: 2 days in the hospital, 2 days in the clinic, Thursdays off, and we round every morning at the hospital. It's a great set up! So far, I've been in at least 8 angioplasties (heart catheterization with stent placement). It's very interesting to see the patient's and their family's reactions. For example: this last week a doctor from in the mountains called Dr. T to take a look at an EKG. The patient had some chest pain, had been ignoring it for a couple days, and finally came in. The EKG was abnormal, but nothing too significant. Dr. T wanted a troponin drawn, but because the patient was in the mountains, the blood wouldn't be processed until the next day. So he asked to see the patient the next day. The troponin was drawn and was VERY elevated. The patient and his wife were in complete denial that anything major was wrong. Dr. T had already put him on the schedule for an angioplasty because he knew it was bad. The patient actually sat there and tried to talk himself out of the angioplasty. We get back in the cath lab and he has a 100% occluded right main coronary artery. Not good. So yes, this guy was having a heart attack. The plaque actually was about 7 cm long. It was a tough case. Once, Dr. T saw the big blockage, he sent me out to talk to the wife and let her know that he was having a heart attack and that he'd be in the ICU overnight with a few nights in the hospital. The wife's response "A heart attack???? Really???" I mean, her husband is over 300 lbs and had bad chest pain and the cardiologist was very pushy to get him to the cath lab. What exactly did you think was going on?

So it's been an interesting two weeks.

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