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Lorraine

C & P For Ihd/ao

Question

My husband had his C & P March 10, 2010 and an Echocardiogram March 22nd. As of last Mon (4/26) VA had not rec'd the results of those exams, but had put out a request to QTC for them. Thurs. (4/27) we rec'd a notice from QTC of the need for him to follow up with his PCP re: his elevated blood pressure and findings on the chest x-ray. I wasn't surprised about the BP concern, but was a bit alarmed about the chest x-ray. Had read here on hadit that it's fairly routine for the "CYA" letter, but still wanted more info.

Contacted our VSO via email(he's not good about returning tele calls, but prompt in responding to emails) asking for copies of the C & P and echocardiogram if they were available. He got right back to us Fri morning, said he'd made copies and we could either pick them up in person or he'd mail them. Luckily we can easily get to the RO, so picked them up.

Looks like nothing too serious on the chest x-ray (says he has COPD, but this had never been diagnosed before so we'll get it checked out). Could be, he was heavy smoker til 1979 and his heart attack and the first by-pass surgery. Never smoked again ( However, I kept puffing away for another 7 yrs, but that's another story!)

In the C & P exam report, the M.D. stated his estimated METS level at 3-5 and the ECHO Ejection Fraction was 50%, so - if everything proceeds as it should, he should initially be rated at 60%. Now we just have to wait on the FINAL ruling as this being presumptive.

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Howdy,

I am fairly new here also, but my case is similar, not exact. I think your estimate of a disability is a good one, as far as can be determined before a decision. The physical pain and depression are not easy to deal with after bypass surgery, and if one battles the urge to smoke at the same time, well it takes a really strong person, and I cannot help but admire someone who goes through that. I tell the following story for your information, and hope it helps.

I have a 10% rating for hypertension. Three or four years ago, I began having chest pains, fatigue, and shortness of breath with moderate to heavy activity such as push mowing a lawn or lifting heavy boxes. From 2005-2009, I had two trips to the emergency room and two stress tests that showed nothing. By October 2009, the symptoms had gotten worse, so I took a regular retirement from the Postal Service (machine repariman). Nothing improved, and after Thanksgiving, went to see a doctor again. This time something showed up on a nuclear stress test, and ejection fraction of 41% and old heart attack. They scheduled a heart cath for Jan 11th. It showed six blocked arteries and veins, and the next morning, had a CABG operation 6 way. I filed for an increase with the VA based on secondary to hypertension CAD, CABG, IHD, and some other minor conditions. I had one C and P exam cancelled two weeks after the operation, but one was rescheduled last week. It was totally not what I expected. The only test the doctor did (I could barely understand him) was a sethoscope to listen to my heart. We talked about half an hour, and he asked me lots of questions about METS from cardiac rehab, my ability to climb stairs, how far I can walk, and apply for various jobs. I have no idea how it came out. I would not have filed the papers if I thought it was not a case with merit. All I know about the progress is that they have all the records from doctors, and now they have the C and P exam. Timing is something that is almost impossible to predict with these people. I have seen very fast results, and others that lasted many months for the initial decision.

Basically, I have no idea how this will come out. So is your husband able to stick to a diet? Is he still in cardiac rehab? The one thing I have noticed is the chest bone still hurts with sneezing or coughing. Sometimes I can even feel bones "pop" near the apex of the rib cage. Personally, from what you said, and from what I know from reading and help from others here, I think you have a good chance. Good luck to you, and God bless you and your husband as he continues to recover.

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Saturneneptune

I've folllowed your postings and have empathised with your recovery from your CABG. My husbands first quadruple by-pass was in 1980 at age 39, following a massive heart attack. That was a tough recovery and he started a new job way too soon- no rehab at that time. His prognosis was for 7-10 yrs at that time and said they'd never be able to do a "re-do" as he had too much heart damage and the blockages were too diffuse. So, pay close attention to the rest of this cuz it'll give you some positive hope for your own recovery and prognosis.

He's lived a really good life, we made adjustments, it changed our lives forever. He really was a "trooper", at 39 yrs, he was highly motivated. He did change his diet, never smoked again, he did his "heart walks" daily and at 7 yrs ended up in the hospital because his grafts blocked off. Then it was another adjustment, now lots of meds., no more "heart walks", always some angina with strenuous exertion, but was able to work a desk job and then took an early retirement. Lots had changed in those years with heart surgery and TWENTY FOUR years after his quadruple by-pass, he had a "re-do" and had a quintuple by-pass done by the same surgeon! (that was 6 years ago, so we are talking a 30 yr recovery from the first surgery and he's doing well!) Not so great about watching his diet these days - at nearly 70, he's really tired of being GOOD! No harping from me either - he fought the good fight for years and years and it paid off.

When you have your "blue" days(and you will)just remember this story. It's a tough surgery to recover from, both physically and mentally. It changes your life, but you will come through this, it just takes time. I'd send you a virtual BIG HUG, but I know it would hurt too darn much! Your chest will be tender for months and the numbness may never go away - my husband has an area of numbness, but it's not really problematic.

We have made a pact not to let this VA stuff drag us down - we've lived without one iota of help - either medically or financially - from the VA all of these years, so if it all goes south on us, so be it. We'll be okay no matter what. I just happen to be a stubborn Swede and am as tenacious as a pit bull, so I'll do battle, til the battle is over. All of you VETS deserve compensation for any service connected disability, I just wish we'd been more informed when we were younger and challenged his first denial for hypertension. But, knowledge is power and now I'll be on them like "ugly on an ape"!

Your C & P sounds very similar to my husbands, so, I was quite pleased with the end results. His report indicated that the M.D. appeared to have read the medical history, English was his 2nd language, but he wrote a very concise, accurate and comprehensive report.

You take care of yourself, know that a year from now you'll feel a lot better. You are still in a bit of shock and need time to heal.

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