I was 71 when I was diagnosed as having a MINOCA. Although it came out of the blue, I had been having heart issues for a few years, so you could say it was a slow burn. I had been diagnosed in 2016 after wearing a heart monitor for 20+ hours with occasional uni-focal ventricular ectopics, and bi -geminal rhythm. I only got a copy of this report, and no action was taken by my General Practitioner. I wasn’t overly concerned, as I had had palpitations and chest pains for a few years anyhow. In July of 2019 I had terrific chest pains, I thought maybe my gall bladder had burst, they were that bad,and at the time.
It literally felt like my spirit had left my body. But I now realise this was the heart attack.
The waters got muddy with heart/gastro problems. For weeks prior to this episode, it felt like I had a fist in my sternum which was causing me a lot of pain, which again I thought might be a sliding hernia.
I was becoming my own doctor by now. A week later, after enduring chest pains I finally called an ambulance, as I ‘felt’ something was not right. In A&E they found raised troponin levels in my blood, and told me I had a heart attack, and that I did right to call an ambulance?
I was admitted for a week, and an angiogram showed no blockages, although I was later told that my d- dimer was raised in my blood, indicating blood clots somewhere. I also have a leaky heart valve.
I was diagnosed as having a MINOCA, and was admitted to hospital twice more afterwards with chest pains, but this was put down to gastro problems rather than heart, and that is where my problems began.
As they did not give me a reason as to why I had the MINOCA, and I still do not know to this day, and feel like a ticking time bomb, because I still get bad chest pains. Whilst I am beginning to realise that the medical profession are just getting educated about a MINOCA, I feel that I am on the bottom of the pile, or at the end of the line when it comes to heart attacks.
A paramedic who attended my house after the MINOCA said I had not had a heart attack, and he had to google it to find out about the condition, as he had never heard of MINOCA – it felt like there was no hope for this type of heart attack as he was a senior paramedic. He did apologise after though.
I have low blood pressure, I do not smoke, or drink alcohol, I am not overweight, but I still had a myocardial infarction!
So where do I go from here?
Well one good thing is I’ve joined the MINOCA group, so I am educating myself, which is good. I have been discharged from the hospital and left to the care of my G.P. who says, I had a mild heart attack, at least that’s better than denial. It’s the stress that comes with this diagnosis which doesn’t help, and it’s the lack of support that I have experienced throughout.
I hope to see another cardiologist to get answers. I hope my story helps in some small way. I suppose we are all different, but our journeys are similar. Thank you for helping us all out.