Echo cardiograms

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/9/2013 8:10 AM (GMT -6)   
 Hello. I am a 70 yr old guy who has suffered from angina since 1/96. I was a USAF pilot during the Vietnam days. I have undergone 7 heart protocols since 1996 and the only thing determined was that I had a Left Bundle Branch Blockage. Way back then, my Dad a pathologist and VA consultant told me to stay on top of it as a LBBB is a good indicator of heart disease.  Finally, in 12/11 I underwent a heart catheterization and they found severe coronary heart disease, and my model heart had a Ramus branch that was 80% blocked. It was too narrow to stint or do angioplasty and it was felt that it was best to treat me medically. They put me on Ranexa. The VA made me 70% disabled with Ischemic Heart Disease. At that time, my cardiologist stated that no other method would have found the blockage, and Echo cardiograms were not accurate in my case. And, in fact, all of my Echos show at last a 60% ejection fraction and all are labeled "Technically Difficult" study. Recently I asked the VA to make me 100% disabled and they once again did an new Echo Cardiogram and it once again showed an good ejection fraction. Now the VA has informed me that I am much better and they are reducing my disability to 10%. I am really confused and wish my Dad was still alive. I don't understand the VA and the reliability of the Echo's as they have never shown my problem and my cardiologist stated the Gold standard was the heart catheterization. Do I have to undergo another heart catheterization to prove my problem? What can I do to convince the VA that I am not better. The drugs make me feel better but the blockage remains. I am looking for an explanation as the VA basis its determination on one of the following: Determination of congestive heart failure- I have not been diagnosed with this; An ECG that shows a fraction less than 60% which is what they are basing it on, or lastly- a MET of 1-3 and that is the category I fit into.
I apparently have good ejection but suffer from angina, dizziness and shortness of breath with any serious effort. So, bottom line is I am trying to understand if Echo's are consistently described as "technically difficult" are they accurate, particularly when a cardiologist has said they are meaningless. cry

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/9/2013 11:24 AM (GMT -6)   

Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  Glad you've found our online community. It’s a great place to connect with others traveling the same'll find much support, encouragement and advice from others who understand.


Coronary artery disease is a narrowing or blockage of the arteries and vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the heart. It is caused by atherosclerosis an accumulation of fatty materials on the inner linings of arteries. The resulting blockage restricts blood flow to the heart. When the blood flow is completely cut off, the result is a heat attack.

Diagnosis begins with a visit to the physician, who will take a medical history, discuss symptoms, listen to the heart, and perform basic screening tests. These tests will measure weight, blood pressure, blood lipid levels, and fasting blood glucose levels. Other diagnostic tests include resting and exercise electrocardiogram, echocardiography, radionuclide scans, and coronary angiography.

To the best of my knowledge, coronary angiography is the most accurate method for making a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, but it also is the most invasive. It is a form of cardiac catheterization that shows the heart's chambers, great vessels, and coronary arteries using x-ray technology.

Cardiac catheterization remains the gold standard for determining the presence of obstructive CAD.

My personal opinion is catheterization trumps echocardiograms, however, please remember, I am not a Dr.  Perhaps you should talk with your Cardiologist and he can provide the documentation re the echo is not providing an accurate reading in your case.

I am sending you lots of good vibes.





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