Two months after my first visit to the cardiologist, I went back for a follow up visit. In the meantime I had been for an ECHO Cardiogram (Heart Ultrasound) and had also been fitted with a 24 hour ECG. The 24 hour ECG was another lesson in how the NHS doesn’t really consider the patient experience. I wasn’t warned in advance that I would have to come back to the hospital the following day to have it taken off, and when I did go back I was asked to take it off myself as the technician wasn’t around. I also wasn’t warned in advance that I couldn’t shower with it. I cycled back home with the ECG attached and made a point of cycling hard to take it back, into a headwind, as I wanted to make sure I pushed my heart as much as possible while wearing it.
When I returned to see the Cardiologist, I was disappointed to find that I was seeing a different Doctor as I had liked the first one. The nurse took my blood pressure while I was waiting. She told me I had the blood pressure of a teenager (120/70), which is presumably a good thing, perhaps unlike the blood pressure of a teenager’s parents.
The cardiologist basically said that I was absolutely fine. The ECHO Cardiogram showed a normal thickness heart wall. It was slightly thicker than average due to the amount of exercise I do, but well within the expected range. The 24 hour ECG also didn’t show any abnormalities. I asked if it would be worth having a treadmill test, but he thought that this wasn’t worth doing given how fit I was: he said the point of the test was to provoke symptoms but I was clearly pushing my heart without showing any symptoms. He thought the most likely cause of my faint was morning dehydration. He made the point that over an 8 hour sleep one would drink nothing, i.e. a lot less than over an 8 hour period awake, so having a single cup of tea in the morning wouldn’t really compensate.
So that’s it and I’m not really any wiser though at least I know that there is nothing definite wrong with me. Having read about some of the heart and brain problems that can manifest themselves in sport, I’m glad not to have any of them, though I think they usually show up well before the age of 50.